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Sockeye Pricing Remains Firm During Low Salmon Inventories

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US - Limited supply of wild salmon species continues to strengthen Sockeye Pricing in the new year, reports Kyla Ganton in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight.

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There are still decent inventories available along the coast on H&G. A lack of raw material carry over inventory from the 2015 sockeye run has kept pricing strong. 4-6s appear to be steady in the range of $3.60 - $3.75 per pound.

In the upcoming weeks, expect to see a rush for inventories as buyers analyze end user contracts to determine a need or a surplus of materials. If you recall, 37.3 million sockeye were harvested in Bristol Bay in 2016, up 5 percent from the year prior.

This year, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is expecting a sockeye run of 43.1 million in Bristol Bay, yielding a harvest of 30.5 million fish averaging 5.8 pounds. Many processors moved from Headed and Gutted production to the strong fillet market, which nets a better return on the fish.

Despite the abundance of fillets on the market, the market price remained in the range of $6.75 to $7.00 per pound and inventories continue to move. This is largely influenced by the lack of Chum and Pink salmon in the market.

Low Chum and Pink salmon returns hit Alaskan processors hard, especially for Roe production.

A Federal Disaster was officially declared last Wednesday for Alaskan Pink Salmon fisheries, after some areas harvested only 20 percent of the five-year-catch average in 2016. Some processors mentioned strong refresh programs for sockeye, indicating that large volumes of raw materials would be destined for that. Expectations across the board for 2017 pricing right now seem strong.