Alaska/Pacific Coast

Report says fish still big industry in Alaska
KDLG by Molly Dischner – January 26, 2016
A new report is a reminder of what many Alaskans already know: seafood is a big industry in the state.

Alaska Snow Crab Price Settled at $5.90
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton January 26, 2016
With the 40% cut in Alaskan Opilio quota this year, a much smaller amount of Alaskan crab will be available to the US and Japanese markets.

As a result, packers were able to ask and get a price of $5.90 CIF Japan/Seattle, despite initial sticker shock from buyers.

A number of contracts have been signed with both Japanese and domestic buyers at this price for 5-8 Alaskan sections.  Larger sizes, and Bairdi sections, are priced higher.

The $5.90 price is more than $1.00 higher than th $4.75 price established last year, after some packers initially set their prices around $4.90.

However, inventories are very light. There is very little Canadian snow crab left on the market, except product that is already committed with programs.

In Japan, cautious buying and a year over year decline in inventory has resulted in no inventory carryover after the new year, and Japanese buyers are being forced to take some crab at these prices.

The total amount of crab from Alaska to Japan will shrink this year, as US demand also remains strong.

The $5.90 price is equivalent to a Yen 1600 price per kg. for crabmeat from China, 150 yen over last years price.

There are reports that the higher prices for crabmeat have slowed sales already in Japan, and that packers in China may be less aggressive.

At the same time, Japan has seen an increase in shipment of raw frozen sections, mostly from Canada, which has become an important substitute for the former fresh and live snow crab landed in Hokkaido from Russia.  This IUU channel has been effectively closed, forcing a change in Japanese crab distribution.  And demand for raw frozen crab has pushed up the price of Canadian snow crab from where it otherwise would be.

Last year about 65% of Alaskan Opilio went to the US market.  This year, despite the drop in production and the high price the precentage going to Japan may increase.  With about 8,000 tons of sections being produced, about 4,000 tons may go to Japan or to Japan via China.

In 2015 the total snow crab supply in the US was down slightly from 2014.  Through November imports were near 43,000 tons, while Alaska production sold domestically in 2015 was about 9500 tons.or about 17% of US supply.

Historically Canadian snow crab sells at a discount to Alaskan snow crab in the US, but that can change if the market is in short supply when the Canadian season opens.  In those years, prices of Canadian and Alaskan crab tend to move closer together.   On the other hand, the weakness of the Canadian dollar may mean that US prices for Canadian crab are lower, as Canadian packers will have plenty of room to both pay fishermen, and be aggressive in getting sales during their period of heavy landings if there is market resistance to the Alaskan price level.


For a few Alaska fish, 1964 earthquake spurred rapid evolution
Alaska Dispatch News by Yereth Rosen – January 22, 2016
Species normally evolve gradually in a process that unfolds over thousands — sometimes millions — of years. But scientists say they have discovered an Alaska fish population that appears to have transformed in the last 50 years — a lightning-quick transformation, at least by evolutionary standards.

Seals blamed for drop in juvenile salmon stocks in Strait of Georgia: study
The marine mammal’s population has grown as salmons’ have declined
Vancouver Sun by Larry Pynn – January 24, 2016
VANCOUVER — A bountiful population of harbour seals is a prime suspect in the decline of coho and chinook in the Strait of Georgia, according to a new study.

Federal Register

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 01/26/2016
This rule addresses how individual processing quota (IPQ) use caps apply to Bering Sea Chionoecetes bairdi Tanner crab fisheries: The eastern C. bairdi Tanner (EBT) and the western C. bairdi Tanner (WBT). This rule exempts EBT and WBT IPQ crab that is custom processed at a facility through contractual arrangements with the facility owners from being applied against the IPQ use cap of the facility owners.

In Memoriam

Kaare Ness, Partner in Trident with Chuck Bundrant, Dies at 87
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton  – January 26, 2016
Kaare Ness, one of Trident Seafoods founding partners, passed away peacefully the morning of Saturday, January 23, at the age of 87.

Born in Norway, and working at sea from an early age, Ness came to New Bedford in 1950’s and fished scallops.  By 1964 he was partner in a 90 foot scalloper, the Viking Queen.  However after a visit to his brother in Seattle a few years later, he brought the Viking Queen to the Gulf of Alaska to fish a new scallop resource there.  At that time, he also invested in a shoreside processing company, and was preparing to sell Alaska scallops.  But the market would not take them.. and Ness took a position as captain of his brother’s new crab vessel.

Once crabbing, he became a mentor and friend to Chuck Bundrant, and a few years later they built the Billikin, Alaska’s first king crab catcher processor.

This vessel was the start of Trident Seafoods, America’s largest vertically integrated seafood harvesting and processing company.

Ness was ever loyal to his hometown in Norway, Karmoy, where he helped build a memorial to the more than 100 fishermen from Karmoy, who had been lost at sea.  He was also knighted in 2012 by King Harald of Noway, receiving the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for fostering Norwegian-American relations.

He also devoted himself to the Norwegian community in Ballard, with immense generosity and helped individuals and organizations too numerous to list.

“I never dreamed that one day I would own a big ship,” he once said, recalling his boyhood in Karmoy. “Maybe a little fishing boat… but nothing big.”

Ness spoke of his Christian faith, and of the experience he had of being saved after he was washed overboard during a trip out of New Bedford during a storm.  At first the vessel steamed away, unaware he was overboard.  That experience changed his life.  “That was a terrific experience. I never take credit for what happened in my life after that.  I give all of it over to God..He has blessed me and my family beyond my wildest dreams,” said Ness at a church service in Hawaii.

Kaare Ness was a gentleman giant who will be greatly missed by the Trident Family and the Ballard community. His son, Arne Ness, notes that a celebration of Kaare’s life will be scheduled this spring and that in lieu of flowers, donations in Kaare’s name be made to the Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial or to the Nordic Heritage Museum.

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.

January 27, 2016