Low Kings, Late Chum and Sockeye: How Kuskokwim Salmon Runs Look So Far This Season
KYUK by Anna Rose MacArthur - July 10, 2020
On the Kuskokwim River, king salmon are running low and late, and have mostly passed through the lower river. It’s possible that they won’t meet the state’s escapement goals. Meanwhile, chum and sockeye are also running late. Both are tracking with last year’s run, and are beginning to pick up in the lower river. Alaska Department of Fish and Game Kuskokwim fishery biologist Nick Smith shares more about how the salmon runs look on the Kuskokwim River and throughout Western Alaska.
Russian Pollock Roe from the Previous Fishing Season Increased by 10% to 34,000 Tons
SeafoodNews.com by Tom Asakawa - July 13, 2020
The new Russian Pollock roe's production volume is estimated to be 33,000 to 34,000 tons this year, which is an increase of 2,000 to 3,000 tons, up to 6-10%, from the previous period. The high-grade product's median market price was $6.00 to $7.20/kg in the March-April bid but dropped to no more than $5.50/kg after mid-May. As for off-grade, buying in South Korea was weak, and the feeling of affordability became more potent with the tender of $3 per kilo compared with over $5.50/kg previous year.
Every year, a Russian Pollock roe bid begins in Busan, South Korea, around March. However, due to the spread of coronavirus infection this year, global travel restrictions became stronger. Consequently, transactions other than Busan bidding took place through web bidding based on photo inspections, bilateral negotiations, and inspections and bids at a refrigerated warehouse in Fukuoka city. As a result, all the products seem to have sold out as of the end of June, reports Minato Shimbun.
The new products of this season are generally small in size, said a trading company. Off grade and significantly little roe (20 to 30 grams) increased production and consist of a higher percentage, resulting in ample supply. Demand for these kinds of categories is usually secured for Korean hot pot dishes. However, the unsuccessful bid dropped the prices significantly because the demand for restaurants has declined, and the future is uncertain.
On the other hand, the roe 40-gram and up suitable for processing and packaging in Japan have not increased in production despite increasing total production, according to a trading company. Besides, the market price of high-grade products dropped slightly from mid-May compared with the previous season. Still, in most cases, Japanese buyers committed purchasing with no actual product inspection. So, they are still unknown about the quality and assortment of the actual product. There is no space in Japan's refrigerated warehouse, and the purchased roe remains stored in Busan. Shipment to Japan will likely be after mid-July.
Labeling and Marketing
New partners sought for Pollock promotion
The Cordova Times - July 12, 2020
A nonprofit association representing Alaska Pollock producers is seeking applicants for a fresh round of its program designed to heighten demand for wild Alaska Pollock, with emphasis on proposals to bring new product formulations to the market.
Nonprofit takes ownership of ASMI’s RFM program
Cordova Times - July 13, 2020
Alaska’s Seafood Marketing Institute’s third-party sustainable seafood certification program for wild capture fisheries has a new owner, the nonprofit Certified Seafood Collaborative.
ASMI’s Salmon Update: Alaska Landings Improve After Slow Start this Summer
SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - July 14, 2020
“Last week’s harvest of 22 million salmon was double the entire harvest of the eight prior weeks,” notes Garrett Evridge, the author of The Weekly Salmon Harvest Update and an economist at the MacDowell Group.
“While optimism has increased, statewide production continues to lag comparable years with some areas well below normal harvest.”
Statistical week #28, ending July 11, saw sockeye harvests of 18.3 million fish, bringing the current season within 20% of the 5-year average.
“Incredibly productive fishing in Bristol Bay saw records fall across the region with many harvesters put on limits. Bristol Bay is a third behind the strong 2019 season, slightly below the 5-year average, and slightly above the 10-year average. Sockeye fishing improved in Kodiak and the AK Peninsula/Aleutian Islands region but remained slow in Cook Inlet, Southeast, and Prince William Sound,” Evridge reports.
Historically low escapement counts in Chignik have prevented any meaningful harvest in that sockeye fishery.
Statewide pink salmon landings of about 4.9 million fish is double the 2018 pace. Evridge adds that because some data is not made public due to harvester/processor confidentiality, 4.9 million is likely lower than actual landings to date.
PWS has contributed about 60% of the pink harvest followed by AK Pen. & Aleutian Is. delivering nearly all the remainder.
The YTD harvest of 2.8 million keta (chum salmon) ranks among the smallest in at least 15 years, down 60% from 2019 and the 5-year average.
“The slow harvest is particularly disappointing to residents of the AYK region and Southeast due to the relative importance of the species to their annual harvest,” Evridge says. "The current week is typically the peak for keta harvest, though strong fishing has increasingly occurred through the end of August.”
Coho salmon runs return in high volume later in the year, to an average weekly production level of about 200,000 to 400,000 fish through September.
Regionally, the areas hardest hit — landings of all species are small fractions of historic catches — are AYK and Cook Inlet. AYK’s pink salmon landings are -88% from 2018’s and their keta (chum) salmon landings are down -90% from last year. Cook Inlet’s YoY sockeye landings are -48%, pinks -92% (from 2018), keta -22%, and coho -86% but that will likely pick up in the coming months.
Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Island’s pink salmon landings are up by 326% so far this year, compared to 2018.
This weekly report is commissioned by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, and are available on the ASMI website here.
Virtual format set for wild Alaska Pollock meeting
Cordova Times - July 11, 2020
It will be business as usual for the Association of Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers’ second annual wild Alaska Pollock annual meeting in October, but with a pandemic twist.
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