Always popular, but rarely predictable
Planning, projecting and prophesying can’t accurately predict the outcome of the yearly running of the salmon. After all, it is subject to all the vagaries that come with being a wild species.
The salmon arrived early this year in several Alaska rivers, the largest domestic wild salmon source. According to Andy Wink, an analyst with The McDowell Group in Juneau, Alaska, both Bristol Bay and Prince William Sound sockeye came in early but were likely to fall below projections, he said.
“It’s too early to tell, but Southeast chum might miss the projection, too,” he added. Data was preliminary, so Wink was taking a wait-and-see approach on both pinks and chums.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game had predicted the 2013 salmon harvest at 179 million fish, or 14 percent above the five-year average and 5 percent higher than the 10-year average.
Pinks were expected to be the biggest factor in the overall total, with a projected 117 million fish.
In late July chum prices were down about 30 percent, or 25 cents per pound, Wink says, while Bristol Bay sockeye prices were USD 1.50 (EUR 1.13) a pound, up from USD 1 (EUR 0.75) a pound last year.
That jives with pricing seen by Dan Kim, general manager at Alaskan Feast at the Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx, N.Y. The distributor deals in fresh kings and sockeye.
Kim says prices have been higher than normal, although “they haven’t been grossly obscene.” Customers are still buying, he said, so the price isn’t out of line.