Alaska/Pacific Coast

Fish Board sets 2017-2018 meeting locations
Bristol Bay Times by Molly Dischner – November 5, 2016
Dillingham will get a chance to host the Alaska Board of Fisheries in a few years, but other western and northern Alaska meetings will be held in Anchorage.


Russia Plans to Increase Pollock Production and Restart Sardine Processing
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Eugene Gerden – November 8, 2016
The production of pollock and West Pacific sardine (iwashi) is expected to be the main drivers of growth of the Russian fishing industry in the coming years, according to recent statements of Ilya Shestakov, head of the Federal Agency for Fisheries (Rosrybolovstvo).

Shestakov has also added that a particular attention will be paid for the increase of complete pollock processing within the country, which has been one of the most priority goals of the Russian government in recent years and which successful implementation should help to increase the economic return of the domestic pollock industry by about two times.

For this purpose, Russia plans to activate building of large-capacity vessels, the profits from the use of which is by 20-30% higher than for the use of medium-sized vessels.

According to latest data of the Russian Pollock Association, the current stock of pollock in the Russian Far East remains stable. This year total catch amounted to 1,38 million tonnes, which is by about 40,000 tonnes more than in 2015.

At the same time total volume of frozen whole pollock production in Russia this year amounted to 180,400 tonnes , while the production of pollock fillets amounted to 45,600 tonnes, which is by 41% more than in 2015. The production of pollock mince reached 7,800 tonnes this year, which is significantly higher than in 2015.

In the case of iwashi, the production of this fish has just resumed after 25-year pause caused by the depletion of stocks.

During the Soviet times iwashi was one of the most produced fish species in the USSR. The annual volume of its production is varied in the range of 1-1,1 million tonnes, which undermined the stocks of the fish, which resulted in the suspension of its production. The catch of this fish in the northern part of the East China Sea continued only by Japan, but these figures did not exceed 10,000 tonnes per year.

According to estimates of scientists of Russian Rosrybolovstvo, the estimate recoverable reserves of iwashi in the North Pacific Ocean and the exclusive economic zone of Russia are currently about 600,000 tonnes.

Labeling and Marketing

New Study Finds Mislabeled Seafood May Be More Sustainable
Fish Site – November 8, 2016
US – Recent studies estimate up to 30 per cent of seafood served in restaurants and sold in supermarkets is actually something other than what is listed on the menu or label. Why mislabeling happens is a little squishier. Fraud, human error or marketing ploys – combined with an often multicountry traverse from boat to restaurant – make it possible you are eating a different fish than what’s on the menu.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED) State of Alaska is seeking candidates for:
ASMI – November 2016
Communications Director –This position is located in Juneau, Alaska and reports to the Executive Director of ASMI.  The position supports ASMI U.S. and international marketing programs and interacts regularly with the seafood industry, press, state and local policy makers, and the business community.  This position requires a Bachelor’s degree and a strong communications background.  Fisheries and/or government affairs experience preferred. Full job description and directions on how to apply are available here. Job closes November 23rd, 2016.

ASMI’s Trailblazing New Products Project Seeks to Expand Sales to Additional Markets
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – November 7, 2016
Alaska’s seafood industry is used to the roller coaster of harvests that are far from predictions, vagaries in the exchange rate, and shifting markets. Even those in the pollock industry, a fishery with little uncertainty in production, are vulnerable to global changes in the whitefish market.

So help to expand markets with new products from species that are already harvested is a smart business decision. But R&D on new products is expensive, and researching market opportunities takes time.

That’s why the industry’s marketing arm, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, has launched a research project not only on specialty products that can be made from fish already commercially harvested, but potential markets for them around the world.

The initiative was announced at ASMI’s annual All-Hand’s meeting in Anchorage late last month.

“ASMI and the McDowell group are working together on a trailblazing project to map out how specialty markets work, who the target consumers are, how to get products to them,” said Andy Wink, projects coordinator for Juneau-based McDowell Group.

“We’re partnering with industry to understand how best to meet their needs. We have a some ideas of specialty products that make sense, but we are encouraging industry members to contact us with their ideas and comments,” said Michael Kohan, ASMI’s Technical Director, and project leader.

Staff at McDowell and ASMI will be reachiing out to industry members this fall to align the list of products that will be further analyzed for market acceptance, target buyers, and provide data on price points.

New product research is not new to ASMI, but this initiative is industry wide and geographically broad, covering all the areas of commercial fishing in the state.

ASMI’s most successful work in new products to date has been with herring fillets. The traditional fishery harvests herring for its roe which is sold to a specialty market in Japan. The rest is used for bait or fish meal.

Alaska’s processors have been interested for years in introducing Alaska herring fillets to consumers who may only know Atlantic herring.

So six years ago, ASMI partnered with the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation, United Fishermen of Alaska, and the state of Alaska to make it happen.

“The Project purchased several essential pieces of equipment that were non-existent in Alaska, or the USA for that matter until now,” reads the ASMI web page on the project.

In 2015, a group of eight restaurants and two retail stores in Seattle started a June promotion they called “Herring Week”. The restaurants served Alaska herring for lunch and dinner with creative new recipes, resulting in food press coverage and higher than expected sales.

In 2016, this event expanded to 50 or more restaurants and will again offer creative menus featuring Alaska herring fillets that are produced here in Alaska.
ASMI partnered with several Alaskan processors achieve this, including Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Trident Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, North Pacific Seafoods and Copper River Seafoods.

“Developing new products and then building a market for those products is a very long term, expensive and therefore risky undertaking,” says Bruce Schactler, who heads up ASMI’s Global Food Aid program.

“Even though the worldwide market for herring products is very mature and large, Alaska’s geographical positioning in relation to the “market” has us at an extreme disadvantage with the cost of freight and energy.

“North Pacific Seafoods is one company that seems to have figured out a way to get beyond those challenges and processed Togiak herring into fillets last spring for a commercial market. We were able to help this happen by loaning our unique machinery to their operation in Naknek, Alaska,” he said.

“After producing a large amount of wild Alaska herring fllets, NPSI will also supply the fillets for Herring Week 2016 and produce enough canned product for the Alaska Global Food Aid Program to share with interested members of the Worldwide Food Aid market.

“What North Pacific Seafoods has done this spring is a first in Alaska and a great step forward toward bringing more value to this fishery.

“The State of Alaska had the vision to support this project and as R&D goes, positive progress has happened in a relatively short period of time.

“If the industry can add to these early accomplishments, fishermen and their communities, from Nome to Metlakatla will see the economic development that was envisioned at the very beginning of this project.

The McDowell research report will be reviewed by ASMI’s Technical Committee in March with a final report ready in April, before the summer harvest season begins.


A Fish Story: How Salmon Satisfies A Hearty Appetite
KRCU by Tom Harte – November 7, 2016
Ready for a fish story? While cruising through Alaska’s Inside Passage, I visited a salmon hatchery in Ketchikan – the salmon capital of the world – and renewed my respect for these persistent and tasty creatures.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206.281.1667
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November 8, 2016