March 31 2014
This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini. Sitka Herring prices could hurt the haul. More after this…
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As of Friday Sitka’s sac roe herring fishery had just under 3 thousand tons left to deliver. Seiners have had no problem catching the nice 16,000 ton haul this year. The quick season has been a good one with good quality fish and excellent roe counts. The big problem fishermen are facing is the roe market itself.
Jamie Ross from the F/V Shadow Fax-
“The clear thing is, is it’s a very, very, very poor, if not the poorest market situation I’ve ever seen, an extremely poor market situation.”
Last year’s big catches… especially Togiak’s, over flooded the Japanese market. With herrings The biggest buyers feel hand tied this season and couldn’t even give processors a recommended advance price for Sitka seiners at the start of the sac roe harvest .
“You know, I’m not willing to come out of this fishery with no price,” he said. “I mean I can’t, I can’t afford that. I think that it’s an incredibly scary situation for all of us. And the processors are a really tough So we’re trying to come up with some ideas that maybe we could help reduce the processors’ risk.”
“ Right now the market is definitely scary. Because nobody wants to talk about it. None of the processors want to talk about it, and it has all of us on edge. That’s for sure.”
Permit holders have feared the weakening of the herring market for quite some time. What once was one of the biggest grossing fishery at $1,700 dollars per ton back in 1996 has steadily dwindled in price. Last year fishermen at Sitka ended up at $600 per ton. Rumor on the docks has this years roe herring price at a mere 150 a ton.
“What a lot of us are hoping is that right now with japan not buying as much fish, or with the weaker prices is that we can open up some new markets. Kind of how pink salmon did. When it was eight cents a pound for pink salmon. Maybe what’s right now is kind of a tough time to get through for herring prices that might be the good thing to come out of it. Some new markets so that we aren’t dependent on a 100% Japanese market in the future.”
Sitka Seiners should be wrapped up as of the weekend. Next up is Kodiak herring followed by Alaskas largest herring fishery at Togiak. Thanks to the assist of Kcaw radio Sitka.
Check out the line up for Comfish- April 17th thru19th in Kodiak at www.comfishalaska.com.
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Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak I’m Stephanie Mangini.