Humpy catch on the rise Preliminary ADF&G data shows PWS salmon harvest at over 9.4M fish Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - July 25, 2020 An estimated 800,000 pink salmon were harvested in Prince William Sound on Sunday, July 19, boosting the cumulative pink salmon harvest to an estimated 5.6 million common property fish, https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2020/07/25/humpy-catch-on-the-rise/ Comment deadline looms for P-cod, sockeye relief funds The Cordova Times - July 26, 2020 Written comments are still being solicited by federal and state fisheries officials on the draft plan for fishery participants impacted by the 2018 Gulf of Alaska Pacific cod fishery disaster and for research. https://www.thecordovatimes.com/2020/07/26/comment-deadline-looms-for-p-cod-sockeye-relief-funds/ Sockeye ex-vessel prices in Bristol Bay, Alaska drop nearly 50 percent Seafood Source by Brian Hagenbuch - July 24, 2020 Major processors in Bristol Bay, Alaska, began posting base prices at USD 0.70 (EUR 0.60) per pound, just over half of last season’s price of USD 1.35 (EUR 1.16). Bristol Bay’s KDLG radio station reported that Peter Pan Seafoods, Trident Seafoods, Red Salmon/North Pacific Seafoods, and OBI Seafoods had all announced their price, with processing giant Silver Bay Seafoods yet to post. https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/supply-trade/sockeye-ex-vessel-prices-in-bristol-bay-alaska-drop-nearly-50-percent A shift in who’s involved in Alaska seafood industry outbreaks means virus may be harder to contain Anchorage Daily News by Zaz Hollander, Annie Berman - July 24, 2020 Alaska’s three largest coronavirus outbreaks involve workers in the seafood industry, a sector that prompted concern as the the summer’s fishing seasons started in June but for months seemed to be under control. https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2020/07/23/a-shift-in-whos-involved-in-alaska-seafood-industry-outbreaks-means-virus-may-be-harder-to-contain/ 56 workers at Anchorage seafood processing plant test positive for COVID-19 Anchorage Daily News by Morgan Krakow - July 26, 2020 Fifty-six workers at the Copper River Seafoods processing plant in Anchorage have tested positive for COVID-19, marking the latest outbreak within Alaska’s seafood industry. https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/anchorage/2020/07/24/56-workers-at-anchorage-seafood-processing-plant-test-positive-for-covid-19/ Another 21 employees at Juneau seafood processor test positive for COVID-19 KTOO by Adelyn Baxter - July 26, 2020 Another 21 employees of Alaska Glacier Seafoods in Juneau tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. A total of 61 people who work at the processing facility have tested positive since the outbreak was discovered. Health officials traced the first case back to a Juneau resident. https://www.alaskapublic.org/2020/07/26/another-21-employees-at-juneau-seafood-processor-test-positive-for-covid-19/ National US federal advisory committee recommends creating a national seafood council The industry-led National Seafood Council aims to increase US seafood consumption and tackle coronavirus woes. Intrafish by Rachel Sapin - July 21, 2020 After two years of study, a US federal advisory committee recommends moving forward with an industry-led National Seafood Council to increase consumption of domestic seafood in the United States. https://www.intrafish.com/markets/us-federal-advisory-committee-recommends-creating-a-national-seafood-council/2-1-846181 New report highlights barriers and opportunities for electronic technologies in U.S. fisheries Environmental Defense Fund - July 23, 2020 (WASHINGTON – July 23, 2020) A new report issued today from Environmental Defense Fund’s Oceans Program finds that resource managers, scientists, fishermen and seafood consumers stand to gain significant benefits from fisheries data collected through the increased use of technologies like electronic monitoring and electronic reporting, or EM/ER. Despite these benefits, EM programs have been slow to scale. The EDF report identifies policy and economic obstacles that have stalled a wider deployment of EM/ER in domestic fisheries and provides recommendations to policymakers for accelerating adoption of electronic monitoring and reporting and modernizing fisheries information systems. https://www.edf.org/media/new-report-highlights-barriers-and-opportunities-electronic-technologies-us-fisheries Opinion OPINION: America's Food Producers Do the Heavy Lifting in Coronavirus Crisis Chinook Observer - July 23, 2020 It's not been easy and the learning curve has been steep for everyone trying to deal with the covid-19, the coronavirus that is easily spread where people are in close quarters - such as in Columbia River and Willapa Bay seafood-processing facilities. Feeding America is a tough job, but U.S. farmers, ranchers, orchardists, fishermen, dairy operators and food processors rise to the occasion every day. Together, they produce plenty of affordable food for the nation's 328 million people, plus plenty left over to help feed the rest of the world. But when covid-19 showed up last winter, our exceedingly complex food system got even more challenging. Deemed an essential industry, all sectors of the nutrition industry had to make sure plenty of food was produced - while dealing with a pandemic that threatened the health of their employees. The results of their efforts can be seen in the nation's 38,307 grocery stores, where any shortages have been few and temporary and customers can still find every type of fresh, frozen and shelf-stable food. A typical grocery store carries 40,000 to 50,000 items. It's not been easy and the learning curve has been steep for everyone trying to deal with the covid-19, the coronavirus that is easily spread where people are in close quarters - such as in Columbia River and Willapa Bay seafood-processing facilities. In the orchards, cherry harvest has continued and other tree fruits and berries are ripening while farmers take precautions to limit the possibility of spreading the virus. Masks, hand-washing and other facilities help stop the spread of the virus. Harvest of other crops is continuing as well, with farmers and ranchers doing their best to keep workers healthy and safe. The Northwest's 150 food processors have developed best practices for coping with covid-19, often with the help of state agencies such as the department of agriculture. Working together, they have been able to minimize the spread of the virus. They have spread out work stations and installed partitions, staggered break times, tested for the virus and checked temperatures to prevent possible contamination as workers sort and pack fruits, butcher cattle, hogs and chickens, process fish and pack vegetables. A major challenge for everyone in the industry has been educating employees to prevent the spread of covid-19 when they are off work. Trying to prevent the spread of a disease that doesn't even show symptoms in many is impossible. Worse yet is the fact it is fatal for a few who contract it. The bottom line is that food producers have been doing the heavy lifting during this pandemic. No one involved in fishing, or growing, harvesting or processing crops can work from home. No one in fisheries or agriculture can have a "Zoom" meeting and call it a day. The miracle of modern food production requires plain old hard work - and lots of people. Nationwide more than 22 million people work in food-related jobs. Three times a day, we are thankful that they all are on the job. That's why growing and harvesting food is the "Most Important Industry in the World." https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1176616/OPINION-Americas-Food-Producers-Do-the-Heavy-Lifting-in-Coronavirus-Crisis
The Winding Glass: Retail Seafood Increase Likely Permanent; Provides Opportunity to Rethink Retail SeafoodNews by John Sackton - July 20, 2020 [The Winding Glass is a commentary and opinion column from John Sackton, Founder of Seafood News] One of the biggest surprises of the coronavirus pandemic has been the surge of interest in retail seafood, surpassing that of red meat. It is more and more likely that the boost to retail seafood represents a permanent change in consumer behavior. This provides a real retail opportunity for both supermarkets, and the seafood suppliers who deal with them. Nielsen released data on both the performance of seafood and beef over the 16 weeks ending June 20, during which most Americans experienced some type of lockdown and then a reopening, which in many areas has not gone well. The organic growth of seafood sales, subtracting growth in unit prices, was 22.6% over the prior year, while beef was up 21%, and the frozen category in general was up 25.8%. When Nielsen broke down those protein items that had the best performance during that period, three of the top four were seafood: crab, lobster, and shrimp. At a recent FMI seafood seminar, I suggested that one of the main drivers of sales of crab, lobster and shrimp was the income support that many Americans received in the first round of pandemic relief. Other economic measures have shown that total spending did not decline, due to the success of the support mechanisms. In other periods of economic turmoil, a sharp increase in gasoline prices would have a knock-on effect in decreasing sales; this was the opposite. Declining travel and commuter spending, coupled with income support, led to higher sales. With the virus still not under control in most states, the economic damage is likely to worsen, and the fate of various support programs is very uncertain. The initial round of income support for unemployed and furloughed workers expires at the end of this month, as do a lot of other protections in terms of mortgage relief, debt payments and eviction moratoriums. Consumer confidence could take a sudden nosedive if the spread of the virus is not addressed. This means we face continuing disruption into the fall, with many schools not opening, and restaurants and bars remaining closed or severely constrained. One worry is that a long-term recession could end up badly hurting spending. But the other issue is that the longer this pandemic is unresolved, the more locked in consumers will be to their new spending patterns. What did the seafood consumer show in this period? They showed that the preponderance of consumption of seafood at restaurants was a convenience, not a fear of cooking. The conventional wisdom was that if there was not someone available to cook and prepare seafood, most Americans would forego it. That proved not to be the case. Surveys showed that seafood was one of the most missed items in the restaurant shutdown, and a subset of consumers moved their consumption to retail. Secondly, they sought out other sources of seafood, whether through local farmers markets or dock sales, or ordering directly from those distributors who pivoted to making direct to consumer sales, such as Pacific Seafood, Cooke and others. In the past, the breakdown in retail vs. foodservice consumption, tracked by NMFS, was around 70% foodservice, 30% retail. If retail’s 20% increase stands up, that may lead to a 35%/65% split that would be a big deal for seafood distribution. What opportunities does this provide for retail seafood? We can see several. First is to expand the range and variety of seafood offered. The best retail seafood departments have long recognized that they need a broad range of products, going far beyond the staples of salmon, shrimp, and whitefish. Whether it be salmon caviar, varieties of smoked fish, oysters, monkfish, or fresh sockeye, strong retail programs are constantly putting new seasonal items in front of their consumers. Second is to take advantage of the new interest in frozen foods. Frozen seafood can be featured, not thrown on the bottom shelf of a upright freezer, covered in moisture. Some of the frozen foodservice packs of scallops or swordfish are highly promotable to frozen retail customers. Third is to partner with local purveyors or feature seafood with a direct story back to its harvest. One of the strengths of premium seafood is its ‘real’ quality, ie it is from a known location, area, or season. It is not generic nor produced on an assembly line. Local is a strong marketing message for any seafood item. Seafood departments have consistently feared that any expansion in fresh will simply drive up shrink, ie that they will be left discarding and costing out more seafood and as a result will not gain anything. This problem won’t disappear with more interest in seafood; it just requires hands on management. It may mean pricing items multiple times per week, to make sure that the last products are sold. It does not mean not carrying a sufficient number of items. Gaining experience with frozen promotions can help as well. The opportunity is to change the business model to upgrade the department to support a bigger volume and variety, and to build up a virtuous feedback loop where customer satisfaction drives higher sales and return visits, leading to further expansion. This can be done with either a full service or self-service department, so long as there is a commitment to quality, breadth and variety. In short, the opportunity to remake retail seafood is there for those who want to seize it. If they do, it will be a benefit to both retailers and the seafood industry as a whole. An unexpected silver lining in this dark time. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1176277/The-Winding-Glass-Retail-Seafood-Increase-Likely-Permanent-Provides-Opportunity-to-Rethink-Retail
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