Vertical integration in the Alaska salmon fishery necessary to compete with farmed salmon industry
Vertical integration in the Alaska fisheries could lead to more jobs for fishing families, better quality products, and increased production. For example, in Bristol Bay, we have experienced a 25% shortfall in production capacity in relation to harvest levels. Is has resulted in processors placing limits on fishermen, less revenue returning to the state and municipal governments, and decreased earnings for fishermen.
One solution is for fishing families or fishermen to vertically integrate. What I mean is that perhaps it is time for fishermen to adopt some of the techniques learned through the farmed fishing industry – including the marketing, processing, and selling of their fishery products directly to customers. This type of vertical integration of the fishery could greatly expand markets, and could help to offset the variable pricing scheme paid to the fishermen. For example, last season, our Bristol Bay salmon fishermen were paid a lower price during the peak of the season, and were also place on limits. So, during this time of peak fishing, a Bristol Bay fisherman could have been gilling and gutting their fish and shipping them out fresh to family and friends, or shipping them out for custom processing.
So, if you want to earn more money, develop your markets, and become known for fish, consider vertical integration. If you are interested in seeing examples of vertical integration for fishing families and fishermen, check out www.naknekfish.com or www.wildalaskasalmonandseafood.com.