3-Minute Market Insight
EP 391 | Aired 06/18/2018
Troubled Start Sparks Uncertainty for North American Sockeye Buyers

June 18, 2018 - In this week's episode we take a review of the seafood industry halfway through the year.

In Alaska, several salmon fisheries are open in the Central Region, including the Prince William Sound area. As of last week, 218,000 sockeye had been caught in the...

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Prince William Sound, since the first fishery opened in the Copper River District on May 17th.

Only 26,000 Sockeye were caught in Copper River, which is the 2nd lowest harvest in 50 years.

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The disparity between this year's run in the Copper River and the five-year average for the fishery paints a clear picture for the region's lack of abundance.

Fresh Sockeye pricing was in the mid-low $9s at the beginning of last week - a high price point due to slow landings, according to a local salmon processor.

The processor also said that since last Monday prices have dropped by over a dollar a pound and could continue to drop another 50 cents per pound awaiting more supply.

Water levels are speculated to be low but scientists do not attribute these environmental factors to the delayed Sockeye run entry.

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the commercial fishery in the Copper River was closed for two weeks to allow continued run entry up until a potential opening yesterday.

Overall, the Alaska Department is expecting a decrease in the commercial salmon harvests this year - the total Sockeye harvest should be around 51.6 million fish but only time will tell.

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--- In Canada, Area 23, which includes the Barkley Sound, was opened for Gill net Sockeye salmon for 14 hours last Tuesday.

First reports back indicate the opening was poor with average fish sizes around 3.6 pounds in the round.

This fishery is usually a good indicator for Canadian markets as it is the first Sockeye fishery to open, providing a bleak outlook for 2018.

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