Alaska/Pacific Coast

APICDA opens new False Pass fuel facility
Bristol Bay Times by Mollie Murray – February 6, 2015
Residents in False Pass don’t have to wait until spring for the hum of boat motors to bring the dock to life again.
The Bering Pacific Seafood processing plant, located in False Pass, opened Jan. 1 for the pacific cod season. This year marks the first winter opening of the plant, which is owned and operated by the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association.

Fishery Boards Team Up to Address Halibut Bycatch by Lauren Rosenthal – February 6, 2015
On Thursday, the two councils that control halibut fishing in the Bering Sea met to address a thorny debate over bycatch.The International Pacific Halibut Commission — which sets catch limits in waters stretching from Canada to the Pribilof Islands — stopped into Seattle for a joint session with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Halibut populations stable, fishing season will be status quo
Seattle Times by Mark Yuasa – February 7, 2015
Halibut populations remain stable in local marine areas, and sport anglers will once again have plenty of opportunities to catch these highly sought after deep-dwelling fish.

Alaska Fisheries Report February 5, 2015
Coming up this week, halibut fishermen get a boost in their catch limit this year, the great winter crime spree in the Dillingham PAF Boat Yard has been solved, and seining for pollock. We had help from KFSK’s Joe Viechnicki in Petersburg, KDLG’s Dave Bendinger in Dillingham and KBBI’s Shady Grove Oliver in Homer.

Alaska Key Driver of Puget Sound Economy, says McDowell Group Report
SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [Crosscut] by Stephen H. Dunphy  Feb 9, 2015
Alaska is pulling on the Puget Sound economy

Its residents consume more coffee per capita than Washington and leave the leave largest tips in restaurants and for services. It’s the third largest producer of craft beers in the country. And it may be the nation’s pickup truck capital with more trucks per capita than anywhere else.

And beyond all that, Alaska is still one of the most important parts of the Puget Sound economy. A report released Feb. 6 by the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce found that Alaska accounted for approximately 113,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the six-county region in 2013, and that these jobs generated $6.2 billion in wages.
The report (“Ties that Bind: The Enduring Economic Impact of Alaska on the Puget Sound Region”), which was produced by the McDowell Group, includes findings from King, Pierce, Snohomish, Kitsap, Whatcom and Skagit Counties.

It confirmed what has been true since the Alaska gold-rush days, when Seattle outfitted the thousands heading for the Klondike to make their fortunes:

“Puget Sound and Alaska benefit from a dynamic and diverse economic relationship that serves residents here and in Alaska, ” said Maud Daudon, president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “Our shared connection is a win-win: Puget Sound businesses provide more than $5.3 billion in essential goods and services to Alaskans. ”

Among the findings:

Freight/cargo: Interstate trade with Alaska accounted for over 80 percent of domestic containerized shipments through the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma, and 20 percent of total containerized shipments.

Seafood: Just under 24,000 Puget Sound jobs and $1.3 billion in wages are tied to Alaska’s seafood industry.  In addition, Puget Sound residents own nearly 1,000 commercial fishing vessels participating in Alaska commercial fisheries.

Puget Sound’s 36 seafood processing companies accounted for 82 percent of total first wholesale value of Alaska seafood production in 2013.

Alaska-related commercial fishing created 10,150 jobs and $600 million in labor earnings in Puget Sound in 2013, while Alaska-related seafood processing created 13,100 jobs and $690 million in labor earnings in Puget Sound in 2013.

Government and industry organization-related employment created 650 jobs and $50 million in labor earnings in 2013.

Finally, Including multiplier effects, nearly 24,000 Puget Sound jobs and $1.3 billion in labor earnings are tied to Alaska’s seafood industry.

Passenger transportation and tourism: Nearly half the Alaska cruise market comes through Seattle, resulting in 434,600 people embarking and/or disembarking in the city.

Maritime Support: Roughly 25 percent of all maritime industrial support services in our area are connected to Alaska-related business, which equates to 5,300 jobs and $390 million in wages.

Refining: Alaska supplies nearly half of all crude oil refined in the Puget Sound region.

Health Care: The Seattle metro area is home to several specialized medical centers that provide life-saving care for many Alaskans. The economic impact of Alaskan patients using Puget Sound medical facilities is 1,200 jobs and $87 million annually.

Education: Washington is the top state, outside of Alaska, for postsecondary enrollment among Alaska residents, who attend over 30 postsecondary institutions in the six-county Puget Sound area.

Joe Sprague, senior vice president of communications and external relations for Alaska Airlines, said Alaska still represents about 20 percent of the airline’s business, serving 19 destinations. (More than half of them without highway access.) According to Sprague, more than one million air passengers travel between Alaska and Sea-Tac Airport each year.
Neal Fried, an economist with the Alaska Department of Labor in Anchorage, said that the decreasing price of oil means the Alaska economy will likely be flat in 2015 with no job growth. That comes after relatively flat growth of 0.3 percent for both 2013 and 2014. “The price of oil is the biggest force in the Alaskan economy over the next few years, ” Fried said.
Population growth, usually another economic driver, also will be down in 2015. After a recent peak of 16,000 new residents in 2010, population growth has slowed and turned negative, Fried said.

Pressed for a forecast on the price of oil, Fried was cautious. He noted that the average price of oil over the past 30 years or so is $47 a barrel. In 2008, the price ranged from $134 a barrel to $34. He said that with supply now substantially exceeding demand, he expected the price to remain relatively low for some time.

Heather Haugland of the McDowell Group said the outlook for Alaska is mixed with oil prices, slow population growth and near capacity for cruise ships on the downside. On the upside are a potential natural gas pipeline, continued strength in the seafood industry and growth in tourism.


US Shrimp Imports Grow 12% Year on Year to Third Highest Yearly Total
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Michael Ramsingh – February 5, 2015
Full year shrimp imports to the US in 2014 increased 12% to 1.25 billion lbs., the third highest level ever reported.  The increase from 2013 was 140 million lbs.  Major shrimp suppliers to the US recorded double digit increases in shipments, and even Thai production late in the fourth quarter exceeded year over year totals for the first time in several years.  Overall, the increase in global shrimp production along with a stronger US dollar led to a big increase in US shrimp supplies.

The 2014 volume was the highest since 2011.

Major increases were noted among every top shrimp supplier to the US. India was the top US supplier with its shipments 15 percent higher compared to 2013. Indonesia, Ecuador and Vietnam rounded out the top four with each supplier posting double digit increases for the year.

By the end of December even Thailand’s production showed signs of recovery ending two straight years of EMS-induced declines. Imports from Thailand were up over 10 percent in December 2014 versus December 2013. This marked the first time since May 2011 that monthly Thai shipments were up compared to the same time the previous year.  Thai sources say the recovery in production began last summer, when pond production exceeded the year ago total.  Now this increase is reflected in US import figures as well.

The surge in volume has pushed US prices lower.  The December Urner Barry white shrimp index was near $5.00, and in January, below $5.00 per lb.   According to Urner Barry’s calculated replacement costs imported shrimp values were down nearly 13 percent by December 2014 compared to 2013.

 This is the first time in about 18 months that the pricing was under $5.00 per lb.

 The takeaway in 2014 for the US shrimp market is that the reemergence of global shrimp production helped US imports reach the third highest volume ever, comparable to 2006 and 2011. By the end of 2014 and early into 2015 these increased volumes continued to push wholesale spot prices lower.

At the recent NFI Global Seafood Marketing Conference, the shrimp panel, and the audience in the room, were unanimous in expecting a lag time before consumer level prices reflected the on-going wholesale price decline.  The expectation was that there will be continued downward pressure on pricing until US consumption and demand pick up.


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.

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February 9, 2015