Wednesday, November 29, 2017

ASMI’s All Hands on Deck Meeting Gets an Upbeat Message

A researcher with Juneau’s McDowell Group says there’s a bright future ahead for Alaska’s seafood industry despite challenges ranging from budget pressures to climate change.

McDowell Group’s Andy Wink told participants in the Alaska Seafood Marketing Industry’s All Hands on Deck meeting in Anchorage, Alaska on November 28 that the cumulative first wholesale value of wild Alaska seafood from 1959 through 2016, based on data from National Marine Fisheries Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, totaled $170 billion. According to Wink that amount is equal to the value of all major professional North American sports teams.

The ex-vessel value of wild Alaska salmon alone from 2011 through 2016 added to $3,513,000,000, and the preliminary ex-vessel value or all commercially caught Alaska salmon in 2017 was $679 million – up 64 percent since 2015, Wick said.

Roe prices tended up this past year, while farmed prices were down, but still remained high, with limited potential to increase farmed supply, Wick said. There was also strong demand for fresh sockeyes, but slower frozen sales early on.

The outlook for Alaska Pollock is up for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands in 2018, and down or maybe flat for the Gulf of Alaska, while the competing supply from Russia is expected to be down six percent in 2018. Pollock, which is available in fillet blocks, surimi, roe and frozen mince, is sold into North American, European, Asian and other markets.

For the year-to-date in 2017 exports were up by one percent in value and four percent in volume. Halibut harvests were up by five percent this year, while wholesale pricing dropped. Black cod year-to-date harvests were up 14 percent, and prices also rose, but the overall value of black cod and halibut is down $143 million since 2011, Wink said.

Alaska cod, which has markets in North America, Europe, Asia and Brazil, has seen its frozen exports down six percent in value and 12 percent in volume for the year-to-date, and the 2018 supply outlook is down significantly in both the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands, he said.

Rockfish harvests and exports were also down, while Atka mackerel was up.

The All Hands on Deck meeting continues through Thursday, November 30 at the Hotel Captain Cook. Reports given at the meeting will be available online following the event at

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