Recession takes a bite out of demand
By Steven Hedlund, SeafoodSource editor
05 May, 2009 -
Prices of higher-end Pacific salmon, particularly troll-caught silvers, reds and kings, are expected to come back down to Earth this summer. The global economic slump is taking a bite out of demand, which should keep prices in check.
"Demand [for troll-caught salmon] has always been high in Europe and Japan," said Matthew Hill, director of KeyBanc Capital Markets in Seattle. "Japan has benefited from the strong yen, until just recently. So the Japanese, who typically are willing to pay for their seafood, just in the last three months have seen a pretty significant decline in the value of their currency, and that's going to hurt them. The euro, however, is holding its own."
Preventing prices of higher-end Pacific salmon from falling significantly is the prospect of tightening availability.
Alaska's chinook and sockeye catches are projected to drop to 249,000 fish and 38.1 million fish, respectively, in 2009, compared to 344,000 and 39.1 million last year. But the state's coho harvest is forecasted to jump from 4.4 million fish in 2008 to 4.6 million this year.
Further complicating the supply outlook is the Pacific Fishery Management Council's April vote to close all waters south of the California-Oregon border to salmon fishing for the second consecutive year, which will bolster demand for Alaska kings again.
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