Alaska Supreme Court Hears Challenge To Fish Landing Tax
KUCB by Jacob Resneck - October 22, 2020
Alaska’s Supreme Court is weighing the legality of a raw fish tax that’s pumped at least $25 million into coastal communities over the past five years. But a lawsuit filed by a Washington state catcher/processor could change that.
Restaurant, small business groups criticize new PPP legislation
Seafood Source by Christine Blank - October 21, 2020
The restaurant industry and small business organizations in the United States are voicing their displeasure with a proposed second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) legislation.
Resilient Salmon To Likely Benefit From Wildfires, Collapsed Trees
KCLL by Brian Bull - October 21, 2020
While the destructive wildfires burned forests and towns this year, they will likely benefit fish, namely salmon.
Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Pollock in Statistical Area 630 in the Gulf of Alaska
A Rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on 10/23/2020
NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for pollock in Statistical Area 630 in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary to prevent exceeding the D season allowance of the 2020 total allowable catch (TAC) of pollock for Statistical Area 630 in the GOA.
Live World Premiere of the "Life Cycle of the Pacific Salmon"
October 24th premiere of 5-minute educational short animation
Please join us on Saturday, October 24th, at 12 pm PT live on Youtube as we premiere our 5-minute educational short animation the "Life Cycle of the Pacific Salmon." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiKwokKxPj8
Whole Foods Releases Their Predictions for Top 10 Food Trends For 2021
Urner Barry by Amanda Buckle - October 21, 2020
What will be the hottest food trends in 2021? Whole Foods is predicting "epic breakfasts," the rise of the chickpea, and much more.
For the past six years the retailer has been turning to their global buyers and experts to predict food trends for the new year. In 2018 Whole Foods Market predicted that 2019 would be the year of seaweed snacks. The following year they highlighted sophisticated kid's menus, consisting of things like salmon fish sticks from Happy Fish Salmon and Serenity Kids' 100% Wild Caught Coho Salmon puree pouch.
While seafood items didn't exactly make the cut this year, the seafood industry could certainly gain some inspiration from a few of the trends that Whole Foods' experts predict for 2021.
"There have been radical shifts in consumer habits in 2020," explains Sonya Gafsi, Chief Marketing Officer at Whole Foods Market. "For example, shoppers have found new passions for cooking, they've purchased more items related to health and wellness, and more are eating breakfast at home every day compared to pre—COVID. Food trends are a sign of the times, and our 2021 trends are no exception."
Well-Being is Served
"The lines are blurring between the supplement and grocery aisles, and that trend will accelerate in 2021," reports Wole Foods' experts.
Seafood is a great source of protein and various vitamins and minerals. Some species are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which not only promotes heart health, but keeps bones, teeth and muscles healthy. With so much to worry about with COVID, seafood companies should be highlighting all the health benefits of eating fish.
Epic Breakfast Every Day
As Gafsi noted, more people are eating breakfast at home. Consumers can elevate their bagel or toast by topping it with hot smoked or cold smoked 365 by Whole Foods Market Atlantic Salmon. A bowl of gits can be taken to the next level with shrimp or oysters. Eggs Benedict lovers can get creative by adding a crab cake onto their muffin.
Baby Food, All Grown Up
According to Whole Foods' experts, parents have never had a wider or richer range of ingredients to choose from for baby food. On-the-go pouches now have rhubarb, rorsemary, purple carrots and omega-3 rich flaxseeds. As mentioned above Serenity Kids offers a wild-caught coho salmon puree pouch, or Alaska-based Bambino's baby food ships frozen sockeye salmon bisque or hali halibut. With more people cooking at home, parents can also whip up their own seafood-based baby food.
You can find Whole Foods Market's top 10 food trends for 2021 forecast here.
The Winding Glass: Seafood Industry Appears Too Strong Right Now to be Derailed by Pandemic
SeafoodNews.com by John Sackton - October 22, 2020
[The Winding Glass is the opinion and commentary column by John Sackton, Founder of SeafoodNews]
Just like the stock market, the seafood industry in the U.S. seems to defy expectations with higher prices and strong sales on many items despite the loss of perhaps 25% of the foodservice business.
This led me last month to predict a strong holiday and lent season for seafood. I keep looking for evidence to derail this expectation but have not found anything substantive enough.
In this column, let's test some of these assumptions against current reports on the pandemic front, and see if things are still holding up.
Virus found on Frozen Packaging
China’s CDC found two active cases among dockworkers in Qingdao, who later spread the virus to a hospital and seeded a cluster of 11 cases. As a result, China is testing 9 million people in Qingdao this week.
The Chinese CDC said that they found evidence of live virus on frozen cod packaging, although they haven’t traced the infection of the dock workers to any specific exposure. They have tested nearly 3 million packaging samples and found evidence of the virus on 22 samples.
This means that statistically there is a very low risk of transmission, even though it is possible. This may bring back the practice of wiping down frozen food packages in China.
For seafood exporters, normal and growing demand in China is critical. China is the only large industrial economy that will actually grow this year, and Chinese consumer appetite for shrimp, lobster and other imported seafood is needed to maintain demand.
Where the disruption may come is in shipping, if ports are temporarily closed down or if exporting factories are required to do additional testing and certification. This may add costs and difficulties for exporters, especially lobster exports building up to the Chinese New Year, but it is not significant enough at this time to change expectations about overall demand.
As consumers adjust to changes in daily life during the pandemic, it is less likely that new knowledge, such as that the virus can survive in the cold chain, will lead to overreaction. Instead, it will lead to simply adjusting preventative measures.
Surge in Retail Seafood is Continuing
The biggest surprise for the seafood industry has been how much seafood demand has migrated from foodservice and away from home venues to retail and eating at home. This trend shows no sign of letting up.
Last spring consumers learned that they could buy fresh and frozen seafood at retail to replace what they otherwise would have used outside the home and High Liner Foods estimates that approximately 500,000 new customers began buying retail seafood in the US.
In the UK, Nomad Foods, the parent of Birds Eye, Iglo and Findus brands, says that they expect the 20% increase in they have seen in frozen sales to continue.
Two important factors that have driven this shift are that first, the consumers buying seafood have money to spend that they are saving from lack of travel, lack of commuting costs, or what they had been spending on dining out.
The second is that for some seafood items, eating at home is a way to bring in some type of celebration and experiences that have been foreclosed by the inability to eat out as much as before.
For these reasons, holiday sales should be very strong as consumers try and replicate at home some of the traditional celebratory type purchasing that they would have done outside the home in a normal year.
There is no reason to expect a drop in retail sales of seafood over the course of this winter as the pandemic returns, as consumers have learned how to adjust their buying habits.
Supply shortages are driving up prices
On a species by species basis, there are many indications that it is supply shortages that are driving up prices.
This is certainly true of lobster, where for both live and frozen lobster inventories are low and lower than expected landings are contributing to a market scramble for product. Strong retail sales of frozen lobster have exacerbated this trend.
With shrimp, Ecuador is now increasing its sales again to China, and although not back to normal, they are up substantially from August. This will help reduce some of the oversupply pressure on headless shell-on shrimp in the US, which is one part of the market showing some price weakness.
Peeled shrimp, however, which has a strong retail component, is selling well for a good demand.
Alaskan producers expect shortages of B season pollock to drive up prices in 2021.
Scallops are also being priced higher due to significantly lower landings.
Oysters are another area where production has been low, maintain pricing even in the face of lower sales.
This past year, most seafood producers have been very cautious about overproduction, and they have faced higher costs for what is being produced. With sales holding up better than expected this has produced a situation of strong demand and supply shortages for a number of species.
If these supply levels persist for whatever reason, whether stock cycles or market caution, seafood sales will continue to be strong during the second winter of the pandemic, despite the resurgence.
Heavy Landings could change this picture
The groundfish forum (held remotely this month) is predicting a significant increase in Atlantic cod production as both Norway and Russia set higher catches. This is leading some European cod dealers to predict a softening of prices this spring. Any such weakness may be slightly tempered by the fact that Alaska pollock may be in shorter supply.
The opening of the southwest nova scotia lobster season is a big wildcard, because if it is a normal season, current market strength should continue. But if landings are more than expected, and there are any transportation disruptions, the market is vulnerable to a correction. At the same time, if there is bad weather and few fishing days, a shortage mentality may take hold. The opening is late this year, so there will be fewer days between the start of the fishery and Christmas.
Because of the need for COVID-19 protections and changes in operations, costs have increased for most producers. These same changes in the workflow have limited capacity in some cases. This also increases the risks that any sudden changes in landings will lead to oversupply issues.
So overall, the industry has survived so far due to limits on supply that have meant that most seafood items are in balance or slightly short of demand, as demand has shifted to new channels but not simply vanished.
Nothing on the horizon seems ready to derail this dynamic for the holiday and upcoming Lent season and the Chinese New Year. A month later despite the prospect of a surge in covid-19 cases over the next four months, I feel our confidence is still warranted.
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