Good and bad news for wild salmon buyers

Published on
March 21, 2017

Buyers currently facing higher wild Alaskan salmon prices are also concerned about new 2017 salmon projections.

“There is very little [frozen inventory] left. We are all anxiously awaiting for the new season,” said Steven N. Chartier, vice president of sales and marketing for Peter Pan Seafoods in Seattle, Washington, at the 2017 Seafood Expo North America in Boston, Massachusetts. The company is one of the leading canners of pink salmon.

“Demand far exceeds supply,” echoed Cassandra Squibb, chief marketing officer for Copper River Seafoods in Anchorage, Alaska, saying that frozen salmon prices are around 15 percent higher than they were a year ago. “This will be a trend well into the season.”

Sockeye salmon is expected to drop from more than 52.8 million fish last year to nearly 40.9 million fish this year, according to recent Alaska Department of Fish and Game projections. King salmon will also drop from 401,000 harvested in 2016 to a projected 80,000 fish in 2017.

However, in positive news, the pink forecast is forecast to surge from 39.4 million fish last year to 141.9 million this year. And coho will jump from 3.8 million fish to a projected 4.7 million this year.

The increased pink salmon forecast will benefit processors of canned salmon, smoked salmon and other products.

However, Chartier is concerned about the impact of high seafood prices overall – not just wild salmon – on consumer purchases.

“Prices are rising up to historic levels, which is not good because it impacts the consumer,” he said. “There are extremely high prices for crab, shrimp, Atlantic salmon and other species.”

The United States exchange rate compared to Europe has also made Peter Pan’s pollock export business challenging.

“The pollock market in Europe is difficult,” Chartier said.

Contributing Editor

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