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Pink salmon predictions unveiled

As the pink salmon commercial fishing seasons rapidly approach in Russia and Alaska, it's time to predict where the market is headed this year, writes Robert Reierson in the latest Tradex food 3-minute market insight.

Russian Fishing News recently reported that in 2016 Russia became the world’s largest salmon producer of salmon, accounting for 53 percent of wild salmon landings. A large factor was the bumper crop of pink salmon in Russian waters, compared to the dismal year in Alaska. Pink salmon is typically stronger on odd-numbered years, which is why the Russian pink salmon harvest of 245,000 metric tonnes came as a surprise. Of the 113 million salmon harvested in Alaska in 2016, only 39 million were pinks – about 51 million less than forecasted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG).

The ADFG are projecting 204 million salmon to return to Alaska this year, including 142 million pink salmon. 2015 was the last bumper crop, with 191 million pink salmon returning, making up about 70 percent of the state’s salmon catches.

It's no surprise that there have been limited offers on pinks in the past few months, 2016 headed & gutted product from Alaska is currently around $1.67 per pound for fish of 3lb-up. We think there is room for this market to soften this year, likely to $1.00- $1.20 per pound.

In the twice-frozen market, raw materials have held steady since last year, at around $2,900 per metric tonne for Russian product, but we do expect this number to soften by August, when Russia’s fish landed from July onwards will begin to reach cold storages. 2015 was the last bumper crop year, and Russian raw materials hovered between $2400 and $2500 per metric tonne. Compare this to Alaskan raw materials, which several Chinese processing plants quoted to be between $3100 and $3300 per metric tonne, depending on where it was caught.

It’s too soon to make concrete predictions for new season, but we do expect to see a drop in pink salmon pricing by September, likely by 10-15 cents per pound.

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Rob Fletcher

Rob Fletcher

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