Alaska/Pacific Coast

Upper Cook Inlet sockeye forecast edges up
Cordova Times – December 1, 2017
An Upper Cook Inlet sockeye salmon forecast released in late November by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game calls for a run of 4.6 million reds, with a commercial harvest of 1.9 million fish.

Higher Than Expected Number Of Chinook Salmon Return To American River
Capitol Public Radio by Bob Moffitt  – November 28, 2017
It appears this is an average year for the number of fall-fun Chinook Salmon returning to spawn in the American River.

Eastern Aleutian District Tanner crab fishery limited
Cordova Times – December 1, 2017
One section only of the Eastern Aleutian District Tanner crab fishery will be open for harvesting on Jan. 15, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said Nov. 28


Russian Government Considering Salmon Export Quotas for 2018
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden – December 4, 2017
The Russian government may introduce quotas on the exports of salmon this year, due to avoid a shortage of fish and caviar in the domestic market, according to some sources close to the Russian Agency of Fisheries (Rosrybolovstvo).

This year Russian fishermen have significantly increased exports of salmon to Japan, due to a significant decline of its catch in the Japanese territorial waters, caused by the reduction of stock, which resulted in the decline of supplies to the domestic market.

Currently Japanese customers are ready to pay almost double for Russian salmon, compared with Russian retailers and re-sellers, which has already resulted in the re-orientation of the majority of Russian salmon supplies to Japan.

In addition to Japan, an interest for the increase of imports of Russian salmon has been also expressed by Canada, where local production also fell this year.
For Russia, the situation is aggravated by the fact that salmon catch in the country’s territorial waters this year will also be significantly lower than the harvest of previous years, due to the migration of salmon stock out of Russian territorial waters this year.

According to a spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, further increase of exports may pose a real threat of a salmon shortage in the Russian market by the end of the current year.

In this regard, the government is considering introducing quotas on the exports of salmon from Russia in 2018. The amount of the planned quotas is currently not disclosed; however, a final decision regarding with their setting will be taken by the end of the current year.

U.S., Russia and others agree to ban fishing in the Arctic Ocean
Alaska Public Media by Emily Russell – December 1, 2017
Ten nations, including the U.S. and Russia, have agreed to ban commercial fishing in the central Arctic Ocean for at least sixteen years.


Marine Biologists Seek Answers in a Warmer Bering Sea
A group of marine scientists is visiting Western Alaska this week to discuss the results of a second bottom-trawl survey of the northern Bering Sea.
KNOM by Gabe Colombo – November 30, 2017
The team is with NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center, based in Seattle. This round of research comes seven years after their first survey of the area in 2010.

Labeling and Marketing

With Pacific Cod Problems, Whitefish Buyers May See a Wild Ride in 2018
SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton – December 4, 2018
After a period of relative stability, the next seafood commodity that may be buffeted by price swings will be whitefish.

Cod, the premium product in the complex, is likely to see shortages and rising prices in some specialty markets.

But for buyers, there is instability throughout the complex. Haddock, cod, tilapia, pangasius and pollock prices are all out of their normal relationship to each other.  Disruptions in the cod market, possible major disruptions in pangasius, and the fact that several species are out of their historical value patterns is going to make 2018 a very interesting year for whitefish, with the first effects seen during Lent.

The rapid change in cod prices is being driven by two things: the reduction in Pacific Cod from Alaska that will be announced this week at the North Pacific Fisheries Mgt. Council, and a 100,000 ton reduction in the Barents Sea quota which will not be made up by increased fishing in Iceland.

Almost all cod products have seen upward price moves in the past six weeks.

Cod is sold in a variety of products, each with its own market dynamics.  But many of these products flow from the price of H&G cod, both Pacific and Atlantic.  H&G Pacific cod prices have shot up, with some reports of sales for Western Cut (collar off) above $5000 per ton.

Sales of H&G Atlantic cod from Russia, the mainstay of Chinese processing, are also creeping up, but not that sharply yet.

H&G cod domestically in the US is the basis for the huge refresh category, which is the primary way in which retailers and restaurants get their ‘fresh’ cod.  This group prefers longline cod.

in 2017, trawl gear catches of Pacific Cod were 71,902 tons in the Bering Sea, and 13000 in the Gulf.

Longline (and pot) catches were 123,133 tons in 2017 for the Bering Sea, and about 20,000 tons in the Gulf.

But for 2018, the ABC for Pacific Cod in the Bering Sea is 188,000 tons, down from 233,000 tons in 2017.  The catch last year was 197,000 tons through November.  If the TAC is set on the same percentage of the ABC, and catches adjust it would be in the 172,000 ton rang, a decline of 16,000 tons.  Further declines are expected in 2019.

In the Gulf, the TAC in 2017 was 64,000 tons, of which 33,000 tons were caught thru early November.  For 2018, the recommendation is for an ABC of 18,000 tons.  Again if the same percentages are used, this would lead to a TAC in the range of 13,000 to 14,000 tons.  Even if this was 100% caught, which is unlikely in the Gulf, the supply would be cut another 20,000 tons.

So the upshot is that somewhere around 35,000 less tons of cod will be produced in Alaska next year, and this could lead to a reduction in Longline cod of 10% to 15%.  Given the increased demand for cod in recent years, this will have a market impact.

Beyond cod, the haddock markets have not recovered from the price spike in 2014 and 2015, and haddock is still selling below the price of cod, a reversal from its normal position.  A rise in cod prices will likely see a rise in haddock prices as well, as some users switch to what is still the cheaper fish.

The precarious situation with pangasius has also led to instability in the relationship of tilapia and pangasius pricing.  Pangasius has traditionally sold for less than tilapia.  However there is a lot of uncertainty as to whether the Trump administration may shut down imports of Pangasius at the end of March, when the USDA deadline for equivalency comes in force.

In the normal course of events, the USDA would extend the deadline and work with Vietnam is they were attempting to make progress.  But in the politicized atmosphere against imports, it is likely that pangasius could become a political pawn and could easily be banned.  Importers have been rushing to stockpile against this possibility.

At the same time Vietnam has rapidly diversified into other markets.  The result is that pangasius prices will see a lot of instability, and already they are trading at higher prices than tilapia.

Pollock has been in trouble for two years, as a large inventory overhang in Europe took a long time to work off.  Prices for pollock blocks today are literally no different than they were 25 or 30 years ago, putting significant pressure on profitability.

But single frozen blocks are still selling FOB New England at $1.20, a full 35 cents below their ten year average.  The problem is that the overall category for breaded and battered fillets is continuing its long term decline. There are some indications that the market has worked through its problems, and that new A season production will be priced higher based on a lack of inventory.

So the upshot is that no matter where you may be as a buyer in the whitefish complex, the pricing and product value relationships you have built programs on over the last few years will be rapidly shifting in 2018.

This is a recipe for unexpected price spikes, or potentially opportunities to switch species.  But whatever happens, 2018 is likely to be a wild year for whitefish.


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SeaShare: Employee Giving Programs directly impact Americans struggling with hunger
For over 20 years SeaShare has represented the seafood industry’s giving program. SeaShare has provided over 200 million healthy protein portions to food banks and feeding centers nationwide.

Devastating hurricanes and fires have affected millions of Americans this year. The seafood industry responded quickly and generously, and as a result, SeaShare was able to send over 2 million servings of seafood to people struggling to get back on their feet.

But the reality is that for 365 days every year 42 million Americans don’t have enough food on their tables. Every day, people in every county in every state are forced to make tough choices between food and heat or food and medicine. As the holidays approach, these stresses are even more pronounced, as people strain to find the resources to provide holiday meals and gifts for loved ones.

SeaShare will be there to help, bringing the highest quality nutritious seafood to families who would otherwise go without. But we need your support to bring more seafood to our neighbors struggling with hunger.

Do you or your company have a personal or employee giving program or strategy? Are you interested in starting one? We have the tools to help you easily set up individual and/or company-specific donation programs, and we can provide additional co-branded materials to inspire your colleagues to give.

Every dollar has an impact:
For every $1 donated, we’re able to send 8 servings of seafood to food banks. To learn more, please reach out to or make a donation today at Thank you!

Fishing vessel safety workshop
Juneau Empire – December 1, 2017
The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) will offer a fishing vessel drill conductor workshop in Juneau on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. The workshop will be conducted at the University of Alaska Southeast Technical Education Center, room 106 at 1415 Harbor Way. This workshop is free to commercial fishermen, thanks to support from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health. The cost is $175 for all others. Interested mariners may register at or call 747-3287.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206.281.1667
E-mail:; Website:
Our office days/hours are Monday-Friday
8:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. *Inclusion of a news article, report, or other document in this email does not imply PSPA support or endorsement of the information or opinion expressed in the document.

December 4, 2017