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Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Alaska Council has 4 months to fix Cook Inlet salmon fishery management plan Alaska Journal of Commerce by Elizabeth Earl - December 27, 2022 The future of the Cook Inlet salmon fishery is again in the air as the North Pacific Fishery Management Council debates how to manage it after a federal court ruled that it has to write a new plan. Groundfish fishing prospects for year ahead Directed pelagic trawl fishing for Alaska pollock opens on Jan. 20 Cordova Times - December 23, 2022 Directed pelagic trawl fishing for Alaska pollock will open at noon on Jan. 20 in Prince William Sound with a 7.31-million-pound guideline harvest level, up 14% from the 2022 guideline harvest level. Politics Press Release: Murkowski Delivers Big Wins for Alaska’s Fisheries and Oceans in Consolidated Appropriations Act Senator Lisa Murkowski - December 27, 2022 U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, secured significant funding for fisheries and oceans priorities in Alaska in the recently-passed Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2023. As a result of Murkowski’s work, the year-end omnibus includes $15 million in Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) allocations for ocean and river research to be performed by Alaskans in addition to significant programmatic support through agency budgets. Labeling and Marketing 2023 Food Trend Predictions Roundup: The Top 6 Trends That Matter to the Seafood Industry Urner Barry by Amanda Buckle - December 28, 2022 What does the future hold? Hopefully not another pandemic. While we can’t predict what’s to come in 2023, we can round up some of the food trend predictions for the New Year. It’s “Tinned," Not Canned Canned seafood is so 2020. But tinned seafood? Delish, a go-to site for recipes and all things food, predicts that tinned seafood will be a hot commodity in 2023. “The affordability, climate-friendly nature, and frankly, downright delicious characteristics of tinned sardines, anchovies, mackerel and the likes have made tinned fish one of the most popular items of the market,” reports Delish. Better Homes & Gardens agrees, and has also named tinned fish as one of the “2023 food trends you’re about to see everywhere.” “Tinned fish is not only starting to play a bigger role on our plates, but it’s also expanding our horizons, taste buds, and appreciation for trying new things, which adds to the appeal,” Laurentia Romaniuk, Instacart’s trends expert, told the magazine. “Vitamin Seaweed” Kelp has been growing in popularity for years and it’s not going anywhere in 2023. Every year Pinterest releases their “Pinterest Predicts” report, which they call a “window into the future, from the place where people go to plan it. For 2023, that list includes “Vitamin Seaweed.” The site says that more Millennials and Gen X are looking to seaweed because of the health benefits. Searches for “Benefits of chlorophyll water” are up 35%; green algae up 60%; seaweed snacks recipes up 245%; Nori recipes up 60%; and salmon bowl up 245%. Delish and Whole Foods Market have also named kelp as a 2023 food trend. “As consumers seek out alternative ingredients and experiment with new flavors, kelp-inspired foods are gaining popularity,” reports Whole Foods Market. The grocer says that they are seeing kelp in noodles, chips, and fish-free “fish” sauce, to name a few items. Puppy Love People have been spending more and more money on their pets, and that’s something that will also continue into the new year. Whole Foods Market says that “with a return to the office for many pet parents, a focus on Fido’s wellness and palate is more important than ever.” This is the perfect opportunity for seafood to shine as it not only holds health benefits for people, but for their pets too. “Embrace the Brine” The New York Times says that in 2023 we will “embrace the brine.” Crab claws and oysters will make their way from plates to glasses as people indulge in coastal cocktails. Uni is also continuing to grow in popularity. Pickup vs. Delivery Ordering out is still going to be popular in 2023, but Forbes says that you should “expect more people to pick up their food as inflationary fears and delivery fees continue to rise.” Many restaurants and stores have implemented measures to make pickup easier, like additional pickup lanes at quick service restaurants, and curbside pickup spots in parking lots. And you can’t forget about the convenience of ordering through an app. TikTok “TikTok” has been influencing fashion and makeup …and now food. SeafoodNews previously reported about the influence that it has had on dining out, and that will continue to grow in 2023 as the app gains more users. The social media site has also become a go-to for cooking tips and recipes. Delish says that TikTok is “expected to expand its influence as yet another essential app for people around the world.” Federal Register Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; North Pacific Halibut and Sablefish Individual Fishing Quota Cost Recovery Program A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/28/2022 NMFS publishes the individual fishing quota (IFQ) standard prices and fee percentage for cost recovery for the IFQ Program for the halibut and sablefish fisheries of the North Pacific (IFQ Program). The fee percentage for 2022 is 1.9 percent. This action is intended to provide holders of halibut and sablefish IFQ permits with the 2022 standard prices and fee percentage to calculate the required payment for IFQ cost recovery fees due by January 31, 2023. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; Seafood Import Monitoring Program A Proposed Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 12/28/2022 This proposed rule would add species or groups of species to the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) established pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). In addition, this proposed rule would amend SIMP regulations to clarify the responsibilities of the importer of record; amend the definition of importer of record to more closely align with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) definition; amend the language requiring chain of custody records to be made available for audit or inspection to add a requirement that such records be made available through digital means if requested by NMFS; clarify the Aggregated Harvest Report criteria; and clarify the application of SIMP requirements to imports into the Pacific Insular Areas. Opinion The Winding Glass: 2023 Could be Better than It Looks SeafoodNews by John Sackton - December 28, 2022 [The Winding Glass is the commentary and opinion column by John Sackton, Founder of SeafoodNews] As the seafood industry looks ahead to 2023, there are reasons to be optimistic despite fears about a possible deep recession. This is due to concerns that the Federal Reserve's efforts to combat inflation may overreach, potentially leading to rising unemployment and business failures. I want to take the contrary view. Particularly in the seafood industry, there are positive signs for the coming year. This does not mean that companies will not lose money on inventories. Many operators and distributors are still carrying high-priced inventory they could not sell after the collapse in demand in the spring of 2022. They will have to book some of these losses to have a successful 2023. There will also be challenging conversations with lenders to finance the seafood pack in 2023. They will be cautious, asking 'What if you are wrong about demand again?" But my view is that so long as seafood demand is real there are lots of opportunities to recover and course correct. The only time when things are frozen in a terrible place is when there are not buyers, or no demand. This is what happened with crab in the spring of 2022. That is not the situation we see for 2023. Here are the data points that lead me to take a more positive view. First crab prices at retail have significantly decreased, indicating that inventories are being cleared. In December, average retail prices were about $5.50 lower than they had been the prior year. Furthermore, customers were responding to lower prices. Both in October and November IRI reported increasing volume in crab sales over the prior year (18% in October, 9% in November even with Thanksgiving), which meant crab led all retail seafood in the percentage of volume increases. After salmon and shrimp, crab is the most important component of the retail seafood mix. When retailers can sell at a $9.99 or lower price point we have generally seen good product movement. In July of this year, no retailers were hitting that price point. However, 21% were advertising $9.99 sections by September, and in October and November that increased to 29%. This is being led by the retailers who have the best inventory position, but it is a broad enough trend to put competitive pressure on those companies still holding their higher priced crab. One of the things that retail has learned over the past few years are that seafood shoppers are highly desirable in your store. They buy bigger and more expensive shopping baskets every trip. If you do not compete to attract seafood shoppers to your store, you risk devaluing your overall store sales. The fact that we are seeing significant crab sales at the $9.99 level means that there is going to be strong competition among retailers to attract seafood customers with competitive pricing. On the wholesale level companies are also reporting that they are moving their inventories. It looks like more inventories will be reduced and cleared than we initially feared earlier this fall, when we primarily had summer data to go on. What about other seafood items such as shrimp or salmon? Shrimp and salmon and whitefish all had excellent movement at retail in 2022, and that momentum is likely to continue into 2023 particularly for shrimp and salmon which are seeing a positive lower price trend at retail. Meanwhile beef prices remain historically high. Seafood has become more price competitive among expensive proteins. Urner Barry indexes show salmon prices have now come down below boxed beef, and while salmon is selling in the lower range of its average price, boxed beef is now in the highest range. Cooked shrimp prices show a similar pattern. The positive news is that signs are pointing to a better resolution of seafood inventory problems than was the case three months ago What about consumer dollars? The big fear in a recession is that consumers stop spending due to lower incomes, high costs and lack of jobs. This is what happened in 2008-09. The US is currently experiencing a historic labor shortage, which is benefiting workers by making it easier for them to find and switch jobs if the pay is not competitive. This has caused some concern for the Federal Reserve, as businesses may need to raise prices in order to attract and retain employees. However, the flip side is that workers have more disposable income to spend, which can be a positive for industries that are able to keep prices stable. The seafood industry is not heavily reliant on labor, as the raw material costs make up 70-80% of the price of a seafood product. Prices are driven by supply and demand rather than the cost of work required for cleaning and processing. While higher wage costs may impact the seafood industry in terms of trucking and warehousing expenses, they are unlikely to significantly alter our business models. A recent report from Goldman Sachs analysts highlighted the impact of the tight labor market on the economy. With significantly more job openings than job seekers (currently about 1.7 jobs for every worker looking), the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates is more likely to result in a reduction in the number of job openings rather than a significant decrease in employment. This is good news for consumer confidence, as a strong job market is one of the main drivers of consumer spending. Additionally, the New York Times recently reported that workers who are laid off are finding new jobs more quickly than in previous years. This suggests that layoffs alone may not have a significant negative impact on consumer demand as long as the demand for workers remains strong. The American labor force is undergoing a significant structural change, with more than 3 million older workers who left their jobs during the pandemic unlikely to return. While other age groups have returned to the labor market at rates similar to 2019, those over 65 have not. The decrease in immigration in recent years, due to both Covid-19 and the policies of the previous administration, has also contributed to the shortage of workers in the labor market. But in another positive sign for seafood, the restaurant industry has recovered with staffing now getting close to 2019 levels, due to increasing pay, flexibility and benefits. Labor shortages were contributing to a lack of restaurants being open on a full schedule and this is now improving. This optimistic take could be very wrong. And obviously I am not accounting for shocks like setbacks in the war in Ukraine, or a global debt crisis. Harvesters often think I am too focused on risks and the downside when I make market assessments. And I think there are headwinds for ex-vessel prices, particularly for high impact species like crab. But harvesters benefit when there is strong demand for their products as much as everyone else in the supply chain. In 2023, most signs seem to indicate that demand will be there. So even with price reductions, business can be quite good. Best wishes for a happy and prosperous new year. Pacific Seafood Processors Association 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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. *Inclusion of a news article, report, or other document in this email does not imply PSPA support or endorsement of the information or opinion expressed in the document.


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