Prices Strong for Halibut and Salmon, Landings for Halibut on Par with YOY, Slow for CR Salmon
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - May 21, 2021
It’s early and the weather has not been ideal so this week’s landing on the Copper River has been less than expected. Even so, prices for both salmon and halibut were strong this week.
With a forecasted total annual harvest predicted to be 65,200 sockeye and 13,000 Chinook, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game opened two 12-hour periods this week. No data yet from Thursday's opener, but on Monday, Cordova’s gillnet fleet caught 2,068 Chinook and 8,200 sockeye.
ADF&G’s projected catch for that period was more than twice that, at 27,100 salmon.
But if landings are lackluster, prices are not. As the first large run in Alaska, the fish entered a market where demand was strong and wholesale prices reflected that.
“Initial trades from Tuesday saw sockeyes out of the Copper River trading between $24.00-$29.00 and kings between $33.00-$39.00 [wholesale prices],” reported Urner Barry market reporter Janice Schreiber this morning.
“Although there was not enough trade initially to establish quotations, market participants have mentioned these are some of the highest levels they have ever seen,” she added.
Earlier this week the market saw troll-caught kings out of Southeast Alaska and net-caught Columbia River kings, as well as yesterday’s opener for kings in California. “As we march on into the end of May with Memorial Day in sight, the wild salmon season is starting to pick up steam,” Schreiber noted.
ADF&G’s sonar counting station in the Copper River, above the fishing grounds, is deployed each year as soon as the ice moves out. The cumulative sonar count through 5/18 is 190 fish compared to a projected estimate of 2,867 salmon. Only the north bank sonar counting station has been deployed so far this season, since shore ice is currently preventing south bank sonar deployment. The Prince William Sound Science Center’s Lower Copper River Sonar Station [http://sonar.pwssc.org/Copper_Sonar_daily.pdf] is operational near the mouth of Clear Martin River on the lower east side of the Copper River. They have logged three days, May 17-19 and seen 180 fish so far.
The Pacific halibut season opened in early March, and landings as of May 17 have reached 5.7 million pounds, or about 19% of the 30.33 mlbs total quota this year.
While landings are on par with year-ago levels, Urner Barry market reporter Liz Cuozzo reports that wholesale “prices started the season firm and have remained at elevated levels, trading at their 52-week highs this week.
For halibut in the 20-40 pound category, “current average [wholesale] price is $8.70 compared to 5-year average of $7.60. Last year at this time 20-40 lbs trading at $6.65,” Cuozzo reported.
Current demand from both the retail and foodservice sector is strong, with prices supportive and outpacing supply. There are reports that processors have bid up boat prices to replenish the foodservice pipeline. Supply has been more readily available this past week, especially on the 10-20 lbs. sizes.
In British Columbia (regulatory area 2B), the commercial fishery has landed 1.8 million pounds so far, about 31% of their allocation.
In Alaska, a total of Southeast Alaska ports (Area 2C) have landed 1.1 million pounds, or about 31%; South-central (Area 3A), landings are 2.2 mlbs, or 24% of total, and Area 3B, only 253,320 lbs. have been landed, 10% of total. Alaska's catch as of May 17 is about 3.54 mlbs, about 15% of the total quota for the state. No landings have been reported yet for Area 4, with a total quota of all subareas in that district of about 4.5 million pounds.
Area 2A, covering Washington, Oregon, and California has caught about 10% of their quota, all in the tribal sector. Their first non-tribal opener is next month.
NOAA Announces Projects Recommended for Saltsontall-Kennedy Funding
NOAA Fisheries announces $11 million in grant funding for the promotion, development, and marketing of U.S fisheries.
NOAA Fisheries - May 19, 2021
NOAA Fisheries has recommended more than $11 million for 43 projects under the 2021 Saltonstall-Kennedy Competitive Grants Program. The projects fall into two categories:
The Fishin’ Company, Gorton’s partner with ForSea Solutions on sustainability initiative in Russian salmon fisheries
Seafood Source by Madelyn Kearns - May 21, 2021
North American seafood companies including The Fishin’ Company and Gorton’s have partnered with ForSea Solutions to promote continued improvement in Russia’s Far East salmon fisheries.
NOAA Releases Report on Implementation of SIMP, NFI Questions Program Expansion
Urner Barry by Ryan Doyle - May 24, 2021
NOAA Fisheries released a report that provided an overview of the first two years of the U.S. Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP).
The 18-page report details program data and efforts from 2019 and 2020 providing insights into the program’s efforts and alongside analysis of its early implementation. NOAA explained that the report highlights the program’s success and future plans to further implement SIMP.
SIMP is a risk-based seafood traceability program for thirteen imported species groups. The groups comprise of over 1,100 unique species that were identified as vulnerable to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud.
The program serves as a “screening and deterrent tool to identify and deter IUU fish and fish products and misrepresented seafood from entering the U.S. market,” NOAA Fisheries explained in a release. SIMP began for the species groups on December 31, 2018.
NOAA said its engagement efforts with stakeholders including importers, international trading partners helped limit any trade disruptions as SIMP was implemented.
Another positive sign for the program was how many SIMP audited shipments were in compliance. Per NOAA, nearly 60 percent (57.3%) of SIMP shipments audited were in full compliance. Of those not in full compliance, the approximately 40 percent (42.7%) remaining were mostly identified as data discrepancies.
The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) responded to the report via a statement from President John Connelly. The group was pleased with the results from the report, and said it “looks forward to working with NOAA to improve any information discrepancies found in entry filings.”
However, Connelly did raise concerns about plans to further expand the program.
“The seafood community estimates it has spent over $50 million on SIMP regulatory and paperwork compliance for just the 13 species covered by the program, a burden on an industry working to feed Americans during a time of recovery. SIMP expansion would impose hundreds of millions of dollars of annual expense for a program that 'does not prevent or stop IUU fish and fish products from entering U.S. commerce',” Connelly said in a statement.
Earlier this month, a bipartisan bill was introduced in the House of Representatives that would expand SIMP to all species. Furthermore, it would "increase data requirements for SIMP, including consideration of labor conditions; improve detection of imports at risk of IUU fishing and labor violations; and increase interagency coordination and data sharing."
Find the full report here.
GAPP Hosting Informational Webinar For Next Round of Partnership Funding
Urner Barry by Amanda Buckle - May 21, 2021
The Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP) is once again seeking innovative proposals for its next round of Partnership Program funding in North America and Europe.
GAPP initially announced back in April that they were looking for proposals.
“Our Board continues to see incredible value in these partnerships and bringing so many new Wild Alaska products—now more than three dozen—to market with our previous partners,” GAPP CEO Craig Morris said last month. “This year, we want to think even bigger, bringing new partners into the program and working to identify new opportunities for more unique products, including those made with Wild Alaska Pollock surimi and roe.”
Last October GAPP awarded nearly $750,000 in funding to seven organizations. Gorton's Seafood received funding to launch a brand-new awareness campaign titled, "Move Over Meat, It's Seafood Time," to showcase Wild Alaska Pollock recipes and highlight the benefits of adding more seafood to consumers' diets. High Liner Foods received funding to launch and drive awareness for their new Alaska Wild Pollock Fish Wings, as well as promote their new “Go Wild” line in the convenience and quick service restaurant category. 7-Eleven was awarded funding for a follow-up promotion to their popular Wild Alaska Pollock fish sandwich, which launched during Lent in 2020. Pescanova was awarded funding to support the launch of their new Fettuccine Protein Pasta, which will target the chilled category and be marketed as the "all good, no guilt" pasta.
Proposals for the upcoming Partnership Program funding round focusing on product types including fillet, surimi, roe, fish oil and fish meal must be submitted to GAPP by July 20. Those interested in learning more can sit in on an informational webinar being held at 11 a.m. EST on May 25. Register here.
Final funding announcements will be made no later than early September.
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