Alaskan & Russian Pollock - Quotas, Catches, Pricing and Expectations

20 December 2016, at 12:00am

US - Quotas for the 2017 Alaska Pollock fishery set last week indicate steady pricing and normal product output for the New Year, reports Rob Reierson in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight.

Jim Gilmore of the At-Sea Processors Association indicated that total catch in Alaska "should be pretty stable, with any change in the product mix dependent upon prices."

The Total Allowable Catch for the Gulf of Alaska dropped by around 50,000 metric tonnes to 198,000 metric tonnes for 2017,

Catch totals to date, however, are 30 percent LESS than the 2016 quotas at only 173,000 metric tonnes harvested.

Jim indicated that low Pollock prices are likely the cause of so much un-fished Pollock in the Gulf of Alaska.

Pat Shanahan of the Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers Association also commented that other species may be targeted instead, to make fishermen's efforts worthwhile.

2-4oz Shatterpacked Alaska Pollock Fillets hovered between $1.80 and $1.90/lb for the past 4 months in Seattle. Last year this time we saw price points closer to $2.00 / lb.

--- In the Eastern Bering Sea, there was a marginal increase in Total Allowable Catch by 5,000 metric tonnes, which will have a limited effect on twice frozen production.

The At-Sea Processors Association also analyzed this product mix from the Bering sea and Aleutian Islands.

Fillet blocks and surimi accounted for 75 percent of product weight, Meal and Oil was 15 percent, followed by H&G, Whole Round, and Roe at 5% each.

--- In the twice frozen markets, fillet production mostly comes from the Russian Pollock fishery.

Russian Pollock quotas for 2017 released in October show a 3 percent increase in Total Allowable Catch to 1.89 million metric tonnes.

Pricing on Russian Pollock for the new season is set to be released in a couple of weeks, which will be used to determine fillet pricing for next Spring.

Some Chinese vendors we spoke to believe raw material pricing on Russian Pollock will be between $1150 and $1200 per metric tonne.

Compare this to last year's $1200 - $1250 pricing which held fillet pricing steady throughout the year.

Expect twice frozen finished goods to hold steady during the Spring months.