On the first day of the new legislative session in Juneau, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute was there to testify before the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee on ASMI's progress over the past year.
With Alaska facing a $3.8 billion budget deficit due to a drop in oil prices, a primary source of state revenue, cuts are expected across the board. ASMI’s proposed budget for fiscal 2017 is $24.4 million, including $16.5 from a voluntary tax on the seafood industry, $4.5 million from the federal market access program and $3.4 million in state general funds.
Performance details provided to the committee talked about the increased economic value of Alaska seafood resources, including the 0.5 percent increase in the first wholesale value of selected Alaska salmon products.
First wholesale value is the revenue received by processors recorded when they sell processed seafood resources outside of their network.
The performance report also showed cumulative value of Alaska salmon permits is up 182 percent since 2005, from $300 million to $846 million in 2014.
ASMI communications director Tyson Fick talked about recent challenges – including the strong US dollar against weaker currencies, and the Russian ban on US products – and accomplishments, including advances in international marketing in Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, China and other nations.
His presentation noted, for example, that ASMI’s 2015 pavilion at Seafood Expo Global in Brussels, which supports 20 Alaska companies, drew on-site sales of $50 million, up 400 percent from 2014. Projected annual sales from that expo are $650 million, up 20 percent from 2014. And a three month online and in-store campaign in Germany with smoker Gottfried Friedrichs quadrupled normal sales, reaching $2.3 million in three months. That promotion featured 300,000 retail units of Alaska salmon with special packaging to “win a trip to Alaska.” Prize winners accompanied a trade/media mission to Ketchikan, Juneau and Kodiak in August.