Alaska/Pacific Coast

“A Pivotal Year”: Yukon River Salmon Season a Record-Breaker
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by Peggy Parker – August 31, 2016
With record-breaking chum and coho harvests on the Yukon River, Jack Schultheis is ready to call 2016 “a pivotal year.” Schultheis is general manager of Kwik-Pak  Fisheries, and has been buying salmon on the Yukon for decades.

”We thought this year was going to be good, but Fish and Game went into the season saying it would be below-average,” Schultheis said.

The cumulative harvest is over 940,000 chum to date.  Managers are calling the fall chum and coho salmon harvest the largest in the 55 years of commercial harvest.

Escapement for both the summer and fall run, an issue of international importance since these fish spawn in the Salmon Mountains of northwest Canada, was over 2.9 million salmon, more than any year in the past five except 2014 when there was a much smaller commercial catch.

“The summer chum were all large, robust, healthy-looking, and above average in size,” Schultheis said. “They just looked extremely healthy.”

Schultheis credits the good return to excellent management.

“The department has done an exceptional job managing the fishery. That’s why I feel very positive about the future. I think this is going to be the norm, to have consistent runs like this,” he said.

Another milestone was pink salmon.

“There’s never been a targeted pink fishery in the river before,” Schultheis said. “We’re trying to establish one. This was the first year we targeted fish.  The catch of 127,250 may not sound like much, but considering no one has ever bought pinks on the Yukon, we’re encouraged about that.”

Escapement for pinks this year was over 1.3 million fish, a total that was double the highest escapement in recent years. Schultheis noted that odd year runs are “almost nothing” and even year runs are good.

“The run in 2018 will be huge,” Schultheis predicted.

“A total of 129,000 coho harvested to date in the lower river sets new record,” said Jeff Estensen, ADF&G fisheries manager for the fall season.

“Last year’s total harvest in the lower river, which was also a record, was 120,889 coho, and we’ve gone beyond that already.”

During the summer season in the Lower Yukon River 8,255 Chinook salmon caught and released alive, and 5,351 Chinook salmon retained for subsistence use. In the Upper Yukon River 179 Chinook salmon were caught and retained for subsistence use.

State asked to pave way for federal relief
Stutes asks Walker administration to declare the pink salmon harvest a disaster
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman – September 1, 2016
In the midst of what’s proving to be the worst pink salmon harvest in Alaska in four decades, Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, is seeking state and federal relief for those in the industry impacted by the multi-million dollar loss.

NOAA Fisheries Announces Availability of Draft Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management Road Map for Public Comment by October 15, 2016
Saving Seafood – August 30, 2016
The following was released by NOAA Fisheries:
Resilient, productive ocean fisheries are critical to our economy and way of life.  Managing these fisheries over the long-term means taking into account more than just one species at a time. It requires a holistic, science-based approach that looks at the entire ecosystem. This approach is known as Ecosystem-based Fisheries Management (EBFM).


Russian Pollock Fillet Production is Up, Some US ‘B’ Season Surimi Prices Negotiated in Japan
SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton – August 31, 2016
Russia’s Pollock Catchers Association said that through the middle of August, the 2016 season is running slightly ahead of last year.

Total landings have reached 1.320 million tons, which is 14,500 tons above the pace a year ago.

The Pollock Association also said that fillet production has increased to 44,800 tons, up 13,200 tons.  With their MSC certification, Russian produced fillets are finding more buyers in European markets.

Other product breakdowns given by the Association are H&G  fish: 539,000 tons; Whole Fish 162,040 tons, and pollock roe of 27,600 tons.

Both Whole Fish and H&G production declined from last year.  Pollock roe production declined by 6700 tons.

In the US ‘B’ Season, around 80% of the quota has now been landed.  US production shows surmi up slightly, by about 1000 tons including both A and B seasons.  PBO fillet producton has declined by about 2500 tons in the B season so far, while A season PBO fillet producton fell from 44,000 to 35,000 tons, approximately.

US pollock roe production also fell over 6,000 tons, from 20,721 tons to 14,390 tons.

Total US surimi production is expected to be around the same as last year, in the vicinity of 200,000 tons.

There are some reports of contracts for B season surimi signed at JPY 50 lower than A season prices.  However, this contract was only with one company that had higher A season surimi prices.

Other American sellers have not come to terms on surimi pricing yet.  The Japanese side is pushing for lower prices.  One importer was quoted by Minato as saying “Sales are comparativly poor and there are unsold stocks.  I tis necessary to change the image that consumption is poor.”

He continued “There is an anticipation of a fall in prices amid weak consumption.”

Labeling and Marketing

Bristol Bay Sockeye Rebranding Campaign Targets Millennials
SEAFOODNEWS.COM – August 30, 2016
The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association is targeting Millennials in a Bristol Bay sockeye rebranding project that will launch on September 1 in Boulder, Colorado.

The BBRSDA has already revamped its website——to provide a more consumer-facing experience. The website offers a modern, east-to-navigate resource that educates consumers about the history of Alaskan sockeye, where it can be sourced and it can be prepared.

In addition to the website, BBRSDA will provide a range of branded point of sale materials; launch an online ad campaign; and  use retail training to promote the Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon brand.

The campaign is also partnered with Chefs Collaborative to launch Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon as a leading premium seafood brand.

“[Millennials are] a demographic that values things like healthy, sustainable food choices, knowing where their food comes from (think farm to table movement) and believes in supporting foods that are in line with those values “the BBRSDA. Said.

Meanwhile, the BRRSDA said the campaign themes of wild taste and amazing place should resonate with consumers outside the Millennial generation.

The Boulder-area will serve as the proof of concept test market for the rest of the year. A year-end project report will be prepared along with strategic recommendations for launching this effort nationwide in 2017.


IntraFish Episode 01 – MSC, Pacific Andes, Alaska Aquaculture
SoundCloud – August 29, 2016
In the very first episode of the IntraFish Podcast, Editorial Director Drew Cherry and Executive Editor John Fiorillo discuss the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) move into Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), the deepening troubles of Hong Kong giant Pacific Andes, and the controversial idea of salmon farming in Alaska.

Ann Owens
Pacific Seafood Processors Association
Office Manager
1900 W Emerson Place Suite 205, Seattle, WA 98119
Phone: 206.281.1667
E-mail:; Website:
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September 1, 2016