EP 200 | AIRED 09/15/2014

Market to decide on Chum Salmon Substitute, Hokkaido, Puget, BC Chum Salmon Fisheries

September 15th, 2014 This week in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight, Rob Reierson discusses Limited Market to decide on Chum Salmon Substitute, Hokkaido, Puget, BC Chum Salmon Fisheries...

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--- This week has been full of news about the chum salmon market, both domestically and in Japan. The summer chum run in Alaska has been dismal at best this year. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game's 2014 preliminary Alaska commercial salmon harvest blue sheet shows a catch of almost 149 million salmon of all species.

Chum salmon represents only 6 percent of this total, with 9.6 million fish harvested so far. This time last year there were 17.6 million chum salmon caught by early September.

This is nearly 55 percent less than in 2013.

We expected a dramatic decrease in pink salmon catch this year - A 67 percent drop in pink salmon harvests was announced by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, but only 6 percent for chum salmon.

Current catch stats are causing a lot of uncertaintly in the US salmon market. Processors are anticipating that the Alaskan fall chum run will be just as poor.

We are hearing that finding frozen inventories is next to impossible.

Current price points for dark meat color chum is $1.80 /lb and as much as $2.25 /lb for brite meat color fish.

The Canadian test fishery opens today and most vendors are worried that the fish will be short in this area too.

The Fishery in Puget Sound begins on October 2nd and if we use Alaska to set the bar we can expect a poor run for both B.C. and Washington as well.

The market now needs to decide what they will use as a substitute for chum.

Some processors are producing Pink Salmon portions, which is not typically seen.

Atlantic salmon could be a good substitution, given that the market has softened and also the fact that China will not allow Norweigian salmon imports.

Meanwhile, Chile continues to prefer to sell only to Russia. Again, there is huge unpredictability on how the market will react on pricing.

There is a lot of uncertainty at the moment but our best advice to consumers would be to buy chum now!

--- Moving over to the Japanese market and chums, the Hokkaido chum salmon forecasts were just released by the Hokkaido Federation of Fisheries Cooperation Associations last week.

The Federation has predicted that the total fall chum landing in Hokkaido will be 120,000 tons, on par with last year. Domestic sales are expected to be good due to the decrease in salmon from outside of Japan.

It is unclear how the Hokkaido chums will impact the North American and European markets as not much fish has come to China yet for processing.

However, the domestic market for Hokkaido chums has been strong since the earthquake in 2012.

The price point for Hokkaido chum is currently around $4,500 per mt CFR China. The $4,500 mt raw material cost equates to a skinless/boneless 6 & 8 oz portion sell price of over $4.00 per lb USA.


---Thanks for joining me for the Tradex Foods "3-Minute Market Insight" This is Rob Reierson - “BUY SMART” and “EAT MORE SEAFOOD”

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