Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute aiming efforts at growing Southeast Asia, Latin America markets

ASMI Global Marketing and Strategy Senior Director Hannah Lindoff

Facing higher tariffs and an unfriendly trading atmosphere, China is no longer a viable market for seafood from the U.S. state of Alaska. So the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, the promotional board for Alaska seafood, is turning to Southeast Asia and Latin America as alternative options.

In late March, ASMI Global Marketing and Strategy Senior Director Hannah Lindoff told the Alaska House Fisheries Committee her organization has opened a regional office in Bangkok, Thailand, initiated a marketing campaign in Southeast Asia, and expanded its Brazil marketing program to cover the entirety of Latin America.

“We are unlikely to ever find another billion-dollar market [like China],” she said. “We’re looking at a lot of small markets to fill that gap.”

In 2020, ASMI received around USD 7.5 million (EUR 6.8 million) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Trade Promotion program to help diversify from the Chinese market. It received an additional USD 4.2 million (EUR 3.8 million) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program for 2023 and is seeking a 55 percent match to those funds from the Alaska Legislature.

“ATP funding is still being used for these programs and will be available to ASMI for one more fiscal year,” Lindoff told the Alaska Journal of Commerce. “We have seen tremendous growth in exports to Southeast Asia and have overcome significant hurdles in Latin America, allowing that market to open up. We are exploring several avenues to help us maintain these programs without taking from others after the ATP grant ends.”

Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines are all target markets for ASMI, as all have seen sales bumps over the past five years. Alaska’s seafood exports to Southeast Asia have doubled since 2013, and its exports to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Singapore hit USD 140 million (EUR 127 million) in value in 2022, according to Lindoff, who said Thailand in particular is buying much more high-end product.

“Prior to us doing our missions … it was mainly a market where you saw a lot of canning happening. Now, they’ve really taken to sockeye salmon,” she said.

ASMI’s work in Southeast Asia began in 2016, and since then, it has run several trade promotion trips for members of Alaska’s seafood industry and events in the region to familiarize local buyers with Alaska’s offerings.

In Latin America, ASMI believes Peru can be a growth market, as the country’s reprocessing sector is soaking up more business in the midst of a diversification of global seafood processing. ASMI representatives recently met with Peruvian government officials to reduce trade barriers impeding U.S. imports from arriving in Peru.

In addition to the loss of the Chinese market, Alaska’s trade with Russia has ... 

Photo courtesy of Hannah Lindoff/LinkedIn

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