Upcoming Fishing Weeks Critical Indicator for Alaska Salmon Fisheries

29 June 2016, at 1:00am

US - Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon had a slow start since it's opening on June 8, but seems to have picked up in the past weeks. Sockeye landings in Bristol Bay this season to date have totaled 343,000 fish on the 2016 Blue Sheet from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, reports Kyla Ganton in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight.

The next six weeks of landings will be a critical indicator of how the Alaska salmon fishery will go this season.

The South Alaska Penninsula has had strong harvests, followed by Copper River and the Prince William Sound at 804,000 Sockeye.

Statewide total harvests to date are 5.8 million fish, representing less than 5 percent of the Commercial Salmon Harvest Predictions for this season.

--- 2015 was the second largest salmon harvest on record for Alaska, largely due to the 191 million Pink Salmon landed.

Scientists predict a decrease overall for 2016, with only 90 million Pink Salmon and 48 million Sockeye Salmon expected.

--- Inventory carryover from last season is surprisingly low across all species, most suppliers have cleared out any remaining stock, including #2 Quality Fish.

We anticipate the first sockeye to hit freezers in the mid-to-end of July, with Chum a few weeks later in August.

Buyers should still expect Sockeye prices to rise for both H&G and value added products as many suppliers are talking 4-6oz H&G Sockeye prices in the range of $3.50 - $3.75 / LB on the West Coast.

--- In Europe, demand should be strong this year again, even with the anticipated rise in Pink Salmon pricing.

Chinese processing plants have already begun to receive offers from Alaskan boats - and prices are rising.

Offers are $400 / MT higher than last season, which will be about 40 cents higher on finished products.

4oz Skin-on Pink salmon portion pricing to Seattle could be in the mid-$3.00 range.

--- Buyers should expect market pricing to start high for Sockeye Salmon as always, but after European demand settles we will see Sockeye pricing do the same.

Pink Salmon pricing is likely to remain strong for the entire season.