Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Alaska Salmon Sales Near $23 Million

Sales of more than 78 million pounds of fresh, frozen and canned wild Alaska salmon from Jan. 20 through April 30 brought in nearly $23 million, Alaska’s Department of Revenue says in its latest salmon price report.

Sales totals included 592,474 pounds of king salmon, valued at $2,763,774;
18,000,792 pounds of sockeye salmon, $64,672,127; 33,464,344 pounds of pinks, $41,060,758; 15,595,712 pounds of chums, $30,015,063; and 3,457,913 pounds of cohos, $9,229,610, according to the report released on June 21.

Average wholesale prices per pound were $12.16 for fresh headed and gutted kings, $3.50 a pound for 400,165 pounds for frozen headed and gutted Chinook product, and $6.16 a pound for 149,527 pounds of frozen fillet kings.

The 10,818,066 pounds of frozen headed and gutted sockeyes brought in $26,049,891, averaging $2.41 per pound, and 7,190,726 pounds of frozen sockeye fillets garnered $38,622,236, or $5.27 a pound.

Frozen headed and gutted silver salmon products commanded an average of $2.03 a pound for 2,497,561 for a total of $5,075,284; while 960,352 pounds of frozen silver fillets, at an average of $4.33 a pound, earned $4,154,326.

Some 32,489,013 pounds of frozen headed and gutted pink salmon sold for $37,099,164, or $1.14 a pound on average, while 191,810 pounds of humpy fillets, at $3.43 a pound on average, brought in $658,043. Pink salmon roe products earned $3,303,551 for 783,521 pounds, an average of $4.22 a pound.

Chum salmon as frozen headed and gutted product earned $14,548,923, or an average of $1.09 a pound for 13,302,038 pounds. Frozen chum fillets, earning on average $4.60 a pound for 1,597,228 pounds, brought in $14,548,923, while chum salmon roe products earned an average of $11.65 a pound, bringing in $8,111,765 for 696,446 pounds.

In canned inventory, the Revenue Department reported sales of canned sockeye and pink salmon, thermally processed in quarters, halves, talls 4-pound and other cans containing a total of 78,061,927 pounds of salmon brought in $22,939,247.

Data in the report was compiled from salmon price reports submitted by individual processors required to report by state statute. Data for some production areas was not included in the report because they were either at zero or confidential, revenue officials said.

For the entire 2015 season, commercial salmon harvests totaled 1,072,334,000 pounds valued at $414,219,000, according to the ADF&G reported last October.

Complete reports by salmon species and by region for 2016 through April 30 are online at

AOOS Granted $2.5 M for Ocean Observing

Federal funds totaling $2.5 million have been awarded to the Alaska Ocean Observing System for the first year of an anticipated five-year cooperative agreement in support of ocean and coastal observing activities in Alaska.

AOOS said June 27 that those funds would be used for a broad range of projects.

From updating a historical sea ice atlas and year-round ecosystem observing in the Chukchi Sea to ocean acidification ship surveys in the Gulf of Alaska, buoys in the Gulf and Bering Sea, and a statewide outreach network for stakeholders.

Other projects include combined weather and ship tracking information systems managed by the Marine Exchange of Alaska and high frequency radar stations to measure surface currents in real time for oil spill response and improved search and rescue operations.

AOOS funds are part of over $31 million in federal grants awarded this year by the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System to maintain and expand ocean, coastal and Great Lakes observing efforts throughout the United States, Caribbean and Pacific.

“Ocean observing is a collaborative effort, and in order to build a strong, comprehensive national network, it’s essential that we work with dynamic regional associations who are integrated into the communities they serve,” said Zdenka Willis, director of the U.S. IOOS program.

Behnken Named to IPHC

Linda Behnken, executive director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, has replaced Jeff Kauffman, vice president of the Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association as an International Pacific Halibut Commission interim commissioner.

Behnken’s appointment as commissioner to the Alaska resident seat was announced June 22 by NOAA.

Jim Balsiger, Alaska regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said that Kauffman, who had been appointed on an interim basis in December 2015, to replace Don Lane of Homer, had served U.S. interests on the IPHC well during his short tenure as commissioner, “and we thank him for his service.”

Kauffman, who also serves on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Advisory Panel, resigned from the IPHC in June after he, fellow crew member Mike Baldwin, a board member of CBSFA, and Wade Henley, operator of the F/V Saint Peter, were fined by federal fisheries authorities for retaining halibut in Regulatory Area 4A that exceeded the total amount of unharvested individual fishing quota held by the three men in the area where they were fishing.

According to the NOAA Office of General Counsel, they retained some 24,600 pounds of halibut in Area 4A on or about June 5, 2012, but held only about 14,085 pounds of Area 4A IFQ. The civil penalty initially assessed against the three men on March 1, 2016, for violation of the Northern Pacific Halibut Act, was for $61,781, but the case settled for $49,000.

Kauffman is listed on the CBSFA website as a vice president of the Community Development Quota entity, and in the CBSFA’s 2014 annual report as chief executive of the St. Paul Fishing Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of CBSFA that manages fishing assets belonging to CBSFA.

The F/V Saint Peter, which is owned by CBSFA, is employed in halibut, Pacific cod and sablefish fisheries and for tendering salmon.

Brexit Impact on Seafood Prices Considered

While European Union leaders wrestle with what their economic future will be after Britain’s exit, Alaska’s fisheries economists are keeping a close watch, and trying to calculate how the political upheaval will impact seafood prices.

“It’s speculative, but anything that devalues currency relative to the value of the dollar is not going to be good for the export business,” said Tyson Fick, communications director for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, in an interview on June 27.

ASMI noted in its draft copy that the UK is a major market for Alaska seafood –Alaska salmon in particular, but also pollock and cod. Last year the UK imported over $90 million worth of Alaska seafood. Canned salmon makes up about 70 percent of Alaska exports to the UK, which is the largest export market for canned Alaska salmon.

For the short term, the economics and volatility of the market as a result of Brexit are uncertain, and the impacts could include disruption of long-standing business arrangements, the ASMI report said.

The report also notes that about 38 percent of food eaten in the UK is imported, and for the short term the economic consequences of Brexit will impact consumer prosperity, confidence and demand.

Mid-term, it will take two years or more to separate the UK from the EU, and the impact on food policy, tariffs, and trade negotiations are unknown, and for the long term, dissension within the UK is likely, the report said.

The most immediate impact of Britain’s exit from the EU will be its impact on currency markets, ASMI’s report said.

The vote to exit the EU has caused some of the largest currency movements in decades. Unpredictable markets lead investors to the relative safety of US government bonds, which causes the value of the dollar, which was already strong before the vote, to rise.

Following the vote, the euro and the pound were down significantly against the US dollar. A strong US dollar presents a challenge for exporters, as it makes US products relatively more expensive overseas.

Roe, surimi, sockeye salmon, cod and more in Japan; salmon, pollock and cod in the EU; and salmon, canned salmon, pollock and cod in the UK, are all major markets for Alaska seafood. Prices and overall exports have already been hurt by the strength of the US dollar, ASMI noted.

What happens next is still to be determined, but the good news, said Fick, “is that we have been a trading partner with the UK and EU for a long time, and we don’t expect that to change.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Alaska Salmon Harvest Nears 5 Million Fish

Commercial harvests of Alaska’s wild salmon have expanded statewide, with total deliveries nearing 5 million fish, including nearly 3 million sockeyes.

Preliminary harvest figures compiled by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game show that in the westward region, processors in the Alaska Peninsula have received 950,000 humpies, 883,000 sockeyes, 134,000 chums and fewer than 1,000 cohos.

At Chignik, the catch reached 334,000 reds, 16,000 chums, 7,000 pinks and 1,000 kings, and at Kodiak 176,000 sockeyes, 63,000 chums, 8,000 pinks and 1,000 kings.

In Prince William Sound, including the Copper River district, the harvest has reached 1,062,000 chums, 632,000 reds and 11,000 kings, while in Cook Inlet, 53,000 reds and 3,000 kings have been delivered.

Harvests are picking up in Bristol Bay, where processors have received 100,000 reds in the Egegik district, 73,000 reds in the Nushagak district, 21,000 reds in the Ugashik district, 10,000 reds in the Naknek-Kvichak district and under 1,000 reds in the Togiak district.

Chum harvests on the Lower Yukon River have jumped, with deliveries of some 89,000 fish, and in Southeast Alaska deliveries include some 88,000 kings, 22,000 chums, 13,000 reds, 1,000 cohos and fewer than 1,000 humpies.

ADF&G updates preliminary commercial salmon harvests online daily.

As more areas of the state deliver more salmon, prices at retail counters are dropping. Fred Meyer stores in the Anchorage area this week are offering fresh wild Alaska sockeye salmon fillets for $9.99 a pound.

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