Archives for May 2014

AK landings vs. harvests vs. values

Fish Radio

May 30, 2014

Landings vs. Harvests                                                         

Pollock fishing aboard the F/V Ocean Hope 3 Credit: alaska-in-pictures.com

Pollock fishing aboard the F/V Ocean Hope 3
Credit: alaska-in-pictures.com

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Landings and poundage and values, oh my! What a difference a word makes, after this –

 Fish Radio is brought to you by the At-sea Processors Association. APA fishing companies donate one million nutritious Alaska pollock meals each year to food banks–in Alaska and nationally–to help fight hunger in America.  Learn more about APA’s Community Catch program at www.atsea.org.

 Federal grants are available to help “Made in America” companies compete with imports and save US jobs. Learn more at www.nwtaac.org.

 For years Fish Radio claimed that over 84 percent of Alaska’s seafood landings hail from federal waters, or from three to 200 miles from shore. But that’s not correct. That high percentage applies to the volume or poundage taken, not the landings. When it comes to fish deliveries, the state takes it hands down.

 You can imagine the number of deliveries, for example, that happen in Bristol Bay in the month of July – every setnetter and every drift gillnetter who is pitching off fish, that’s a delivery, a landing. And there are hundreds of those happening every day. But you contrast that with the volume or poundage of fish harvested, that’s another thing. 

 Kurt Iverson is the Research and Planning project leader at the state Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.  Likewise, there is an important distinction between fishery poundage and values. Some are high volume with relatively lower value on a per pound basis, and vice versa.

 A good example of a fishery that has very high value but relatively low volume is sablefish. Compare that to other fisheries and the total poundage harvested may not measure up but the value is very high.  

Furthermore, when people talk about the overall value of Alaska’s fisheries they usually use the exvessel, or dockside, numbers. But that represents only 40% of the industry’s worth – it’s the first wholesale value that tells the whole tale, the first sales made by seafood processors.

Iverson says in terms of seafood landings, harvests and values it’s important to make those distinctions —  

 It’s important not only for someone who is expressing it, but for a reader. What exactly are you taking in here – are you considering a value or a poundage or harvest, are you considering a delivery or something else. We all have that responsibility – the writers and journalists and analysts like myself have a responsibility to be clear about what we’re talking about and our audiences should be aware that there are differences too.

 

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, an Alaska corporation proudly supporting Alaska’s coastal communities and the Alaskans who depend on fishing for their livelihoods and culture. www.oceanbeauty.com   In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.

 

Salmon markets show steady seasonal variations at wholesale

Fish Radio
May 29, 2014

Salmon markets show seasonal variations                                             

Salmon exvessel prices Credit:  adf&g

Salmon exvessel prices
Credit: adf&g

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch …. Salmon prices vary according to the seasons. More on wholesale trends after this –

 Fish Radio is brought to you by the At-sea Processors Association. APA fishing companies donate one million nutritious Alaska pollock meals each year to food banks–in Alaska and nationally–to help fight hunger in America.  Learn more about APA’s Community Catch program at www.atsea.org.

Federal grants are available to help “Made in America” companies compete with imports and save US jobs. Learn more at www.nwtaac.org.

 

Salmon prices at wholesale show very marked seasonal variations for both wild and farmed fish. It’s a pattern that’s been tracked by Urner Barry- the nation’s oldest commodity market watcher since 1895.

 Prices pretty much fall during the June, July, August and September period and they begin rising again pretty much from November through April or May. 2

 John Sackton is a market expert and publisher of Seafood.com, an Urner-Barry partner. This pattern is very well established, he says, and two things drive the cycle –

 One, is there’s a growth cycle for farmed salmon, which is they eat more food and grow faster at certain times of the year, and so the harvests, particularly those that come into the US market from Chile for example, really peak in June, July and August, which are our summer months and the winter months in Chile. The other thing is the opening of the wild salmon season. All of a sudden you get a lot more diversity and availability of Alaskan salmon. 

 Sackton says buyers of both wild sockeyes and farmed salmon are starting to push back a bit on high prices. That’s likely reflected in the $3.50 advances for the first reds at Copper River, down 50 cents from last year.

 And it’s also consistent with our cyclical thinking that we’ve seen the high price on salmon for right now and the next few months we’ll see some sort of downward trend. 

 A big wild card this summer is the projected 72 million sockeye return at British Columbia’s Fraser River. Sackton says Japanese buyers, who have been somewhat priced out of the sockeye market in recent years, are hoping that a big run will open up more opportunities. Even though they’ve been buying less, Japan is still an important part of a three legged sockeye stool.

 You’ve got your US fresh/frozen market, the Japanese market and the European customers and you’ve got the canned pack. If the Japanese part of that equation is a bit cautious because they are hoping to see some big price break at Fraser, they are slow to commit to contracts for the pack earlier in the year and that can put price pressure on everybody. 

 Timing also will come into play – the Fraser run typically arrives in August, several weeks after the big sockeye haul at Bristol Bay.

 So what this is going to mean this year, in my opinion, is that there will be more uncertainty about what the final price is because obviously you’ve got a run coming in later. I don’t know how it will affect the fishing price except that usually tends to follow where people expect the markets to go.  

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, an Alaska corporation proudly supporting Alaska’s coastal communities and the Alaskans who depend on fishing for their livelihoods and culture. www.oceanbeauty.com   In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.