Changing tastes contribute to weaker market in Japan for Alaska seafood
Alaska Dispatch News by Jeannette Lee Falsey – March 8, 2015
Satomi Inaba grew up eating her mother’s boiled fish and mackerel sushi, but like many younger Japanese consumers today favors turf over surf in her own kitchen. Seafood she considers more troublesome to prepare and, frankly, rather smelly.



NOAA Fisheries 2015 Science Program Reviews: Protected Species
NOAA.GOV – 2015

North Pacific and Arctic areas where the Alaska Fisheries Science Center conducts marine mammal research. 6a
HIGH QUALITY SCIENCE is fundamental to NOAA as a science-based agency. NOAA Fisheries conducts objective peer reviews of scientific activities in major programs at its Science Centers on a regular basis using agreed-upon criteria. The purpose of the reviews is to maximize the transparency and effectiveness of major science programs located at the six Science Centers as well as those located in or coordinated through NMFS Headquarters.


 Labeling and Marketing

3MMI – High Coho Salmon Inventory; Pink Salmon Buyers on the Fence…
Tradex Marketing – March 9, 2015

3-Minute Market Insight:
Buyers on the Fence Until True Run Size Determined
➥ 2015 is set to be a great run for Coho salmon returning to the Puget Sound, as reported by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife last week.
➥ Pink salmon prices NEED to come down. 2014 was a decent year in Alaska, about 26% higher than forecasts. We believe prices will come down.

Groups Urge Costco Not to Sell GMO Salmon
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Hill] By Lydia Wheeler – March 10, 2015
Food safety advocates are urging Costco to not sell genetically modified salmon, although it has never done so.

Friends of the Earth, which is spearheading the anti-engineered salmon campaign with Community Alliance for Global Justice and Food and Water Watch, delivered a petition with 50,0000 signatures to Costco Wholesale, a Washington-based discount grocer, on Saturday.

Though the retailer has said it has not sold any GMO salmon and at this time has no plans to do so in the future, Friends of the Earth said it has yet to release an official company policy.

Stores including Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Kroger have agreed to stop selling genetically modified fish. Whole Foods has its commitment a step further with plans to label all food products in its U.S. and Canadian stores to indicate whether they contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) by 2018.

The food and Drug Administration is currently working to determine whether AquAdvantage Salmon, an Atlantic salmon developed by the Maryland-based AquaBounty Technologies, Inc., is as safe to eat as farmed, conventionally bred Atlantic salmon.

AquAdvantage salmon is genetically engineered to grow more quickly than its conventional counterpart.

Friends of the Earth said 35 other species of genetically engineered fish are currently under development, and the FDA’s decision on this genetically engineered salmon application will set a precedent for other genetically engineered fish and animals including cows, chickens and pigs to enter the global food market.

“50,000 of Costco’s customers have asked it to not carry GMO salmon, even if approved by the FDA, and we want to confirm its dedication to sustainable seafood,” Dana Perls, a Friends of the Earth food and technology campaigner, said in a news release. “Costco has told its customers it has no plans to sell GMO salmon — now the question is, will Costco publicly confirm this policy and join its competitors or will it be known as the ‘GMO Salmon store’?”

Costco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Federal Register

Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fisheries off West Coast States; Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery; 2015 Tribal Fishery for Pacific Whiting
A Proposed Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 03/10/2015
NMFS issues this proposed rule for the 2015 Pacific whiting fishery under the authority of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP), the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), and the Pacific Whiting Act of 2006. This proposed rule would allocate 17.5% of the U.S. Total Allowable Catch of Pacific whiting for 2015 to Pacific Coast Indian tribes that have a Treaty right to harvest groundfish, and would revise the regulation authorizing NMFS to reapportion unused allocation from the tribal allocation to the non-tribal sectors earlier in the fishing season.



Seafood Sales Start Lent with a Bang; Retail Promotions up 42% over February 2014
SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton – March 9, 2015
There is a good chance seafood sales for Lent will be excellent this year.

After a drop in 2014, retail seafood promotions during February surged by 42%, led by a 45% increase in shrimp promotions.

Urner Barry’s retail index measures both the number of stores nationally engaged in promotion, and the number of seafood features published in a given week.

We used the raw store numbers to determine retail interest.  The data represent about 40% of US metro areas, by population.

In the major metro markets surveyed, 195,112 stores ran individual weekly seafood features in February 2015, versus only 137,690 in February of 2014.  Obviously retailers see seafood lent promotions as a bigger part of their business this year.

The surge in promotions applies to all products, but especially shrimp.  The number of stores (again for the 16 surveyed major metro areas) with shrimp promotions increased from 43,577 to 63,291.

However prices were mostly unchanged.  For example, a 26-30 raw EZ peel shrimp sold for $9.52 lb in 2014, and for $9.31 lb in 2015.  This is a drop of only 2.2%.

Meanwhile, the last 90 day wholesale average for 26-30 Asian white shrimp has been $5.01, vs. $6.75 for the same period a year ago.  So wholesale prices have come down 25.7%, and retail prices have come down about 2.2%.

This suggests that part of the retail interest in shrimp is that margins are considerably higher this year than in 2014.

But the surge in promotion suggests that not only are retailers eager to buy shrimp, but that they are selling to more customers.  This is a positive development for suppliers, as it means that shrimp is moving through the pipeline.  Of course it would move faster with lower retail prices, but that is likely what is coming next.

The impetus will be retail competition, and once some banners start heavily promoting lower prices, others will follow suit.

This positive news on shrimp was repeated in other major categories as well, though less dramatically.  Atlantic salmon promotions were up 12% over February 2014, and have continued a positive trend for three years.

Fillets, both fresh and frozen, also saw higher promotion.  Fillet promotions were up 33% in February, vs. the same month last year.  For Alaskan cod, average prices edged up from $5.62 to $6.09.  For fresh/frozen Atlantic cod, prices were stable, with average price of $6.75 in 2015 less than a penny different than in 2014.

Higher sales with little price reduction is an indication of improving seafood demand.   Retail is clearly increasing their sales volume – as more promotions translate directly to higher volume.

Meanwhile, foodservice demand is climbing also, as restaurant traffic improves and the headwinds of unemployment and low wages abate a little, due partly to lower gas prices.

This is likely to create quite a buzz at the upcoming Boston Seafood Show, as it is clear that this year sales of many seafood  products will be firing on all cylinders.
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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March 10, 2015