Copper River opener set for May 16
Seafood purveyors encouraging customers to pre-order
Cordova Times by Margaret Bauman - May 9, 2019
With less than a week until the Copper River salmon fishery opens, on May 16, the excitement as already spread far beyond Prince William Sound.
Alaska Seafood Industry Making Plans for China Tariff Impact
Alaska seafood industry exploring strategies to reduce damage from Trump administration's tariff dispute with China.
US News by Associated Press - May 10, 2019
KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's seafood industry is exploring strategies to reduce damage from the Trump administration's trade dispute with China, officials said.
Updates coming to new GSA certification, including on social standards and capture processing
Seafood Source by Cliff White - May 9, 2019
From labor standards on-board fishing vessels to food safety in processing plants, the Global Aquaculture Association’s new Global Seafood Assurances (GSA) standard is seeking to create an all-encompassing certification addressing every major aspect of sustainability in the seafood industry.
Potential China Tariffs Set for Friday Could Kill Tilapia Market
SeafoodNews.com by John Sackton - May 9, 2019
[News analysis] Just when most importers felt the situation with China was moving towards a resolution, the US abruptly filed to impose tariffs of 25% on the $200 million worth of Chinese goods that are currently taxed at 10%.
Originally these tariffs were to go into effect on January 1st, and the prospect of a serious trade war contributed to the 20% sell-off in the stock market last fall. But things appeared to recover, the economy remained strong, the US and China were talking, and it looked like the global trading system would weather the storm.
Now, not so much. Unless there is a last minute change or this was a brinkmanship negotiating tactic, the Trump Administration will impose the 25% tariff as of midnight Thursday night, May 9th.
This means any shipment from China currently on the water and subject to the 10% tariff will see that tariff rise to 25% when it hits port.
This trade escalation could be much more damaging to the US seafood industry than the 10% tariffs imposed last July.
Chart: Urner Barry Analysis of Tilapia Imports and Prices (Lorin Castiglione)
If you look at Chinese seafood exports to the US, the single most exposed item is tilapia. In 2018, the tilapia market finally began to recover after four years of declining volume and price.
Despite the 10% tariffs, the volume of tilapia imported actually increased in 2018 over 2017. December imports were 35% higher than the past three year average, as importers rushed to beat a possible 25% tariff hike.
If the 25% tariff materializes, it will likely kill any momentum in tilapia sales, and lead to a rapid price increase. The increase would come from both applying the tariff, and from sellers who have lower tariff inventory on hand, and may see a surge in demand allowing them to raise prices.
However, any such price move would be the precursor to a sharp drop in total volume. Restaurants and retailers would rapidly pull tilapia from their lineup. After other causes raised prices in the past such as over exuberant buying, or weather-related reductions, volumes have fallen substantially in the subsequent year.
It is not just tilapia that would suffer, however. Already US usage of twice frozen Chinese cod is down substantially in 2018 vs. 2017.
Pollock currently is exempt from the tariffs, and has not been affected, but that could change if China changes their rules in response to US moves. Some analysts think China may use whatever non-tariff tools it can muster, from new export control rules to inspections to business license reviews, all to put pressure on US companies.
This could also disrupt the pink salmon market, because much of the pink salmon harvested in Alaska is sent to China for processing.
Businesses that have been successful at absorbing a 10% tariff almost universally say the 25% tariff would be too much, and would hurt their ability to operate.
Last year importers had clear visibility about the potential for a tariff increase, and could make plans several months beforehand to increase their orders, for example, prior to the effective date.
One of the biggest costs of this sudden move by the US government is that it gives companies no warning. Many will be on the hook for the increased tariffs without having had the chance to plan for them. The current approach appears to be using a sledge hammer for something better done with a scalpel. The likely result is our own fingers are going to get smashed.
North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting
A Notice by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 05/09/2019
The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and its advisory committees will meet June 3, 2019 through June 10, 2019.
Women in Alaska’s fishing industry hope to curb sexual harassment
KBBI by Renee Gross - May 7, 2019
Many women in the commercial fishing industry say sexual harassment is part of the job. But, being on a boat for weeks or months at a time can make harassment hard to escape and seeking help especially difficult. Now, there’s a push to make the seas safer for women.
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