Facing budget cut, ASMI to revise spending strategy


James Wright, Senior Editor

Published on
April 23, 2015

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is facing a USD 2 million (EUR 1.86 million) budget cut for next year, which will impact the organization’s advertising strategy.

ASMI Executive Director Mike Cerne told SeafoodSource at Seafood Expo Global on Thursday that its core promotional programs will remain intact. “We’re looking at reducing our administrative costs to the greatest extent possible,” he said, adding that the majority of its funding comes from the Alaska seafood industry’s voluntary 0.5 percent tax on the landed value of fish.

That revenue accounts for roughly half of ASMI’s budget, Cerne explained, with the remainder coming from a federal grant that the state must match. Cerne said that a board of directors meeting is scheduled for 5 May, during which a new spending plan will be presented.

According to an report in the Juneau Resources Weekly, the USD 2 million cut is less than the original 40 percent cut proposed by the legislature, and slightly more than Gov. Bill Walker's original recommended cut of about 20 percent of state funds. The news outlet also reported that the Alaska Department of Fish & Game is facing an USD 8 million (EUR 7.45 million) budget cut for next year.

Cerne said that ASMI’s income stream varies as the price of fish goes up and down, but that its reserve fund should keep the organization moving forward in promoting Alaska seafood around the world. The contingency of Alaska suppliers exhibiting at Seafood Expo Global are proving “positive feedback” about their experience at the show and from the development of its Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) sustainability certification program.

Cerne added that Peter Marshall, the founder and former CEO of Global Trust Certification — the Ireland-based company that created the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization-based RFM program — is now working with ASMI as an independent consultant as RFM engages in the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) pilot program for benchmarking seafood certification schemes. GSSI on Tuesday launched the public consultation of its updated Global Benchmark Tool that will run until 19 May.

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