EP 410 | AIRED 10/29/2018

Sockeye Salmon: To Buy or Hold?

October 29, 2018 - 2018 turned out to be a record breaking year for Bristol Bay Sockeye while high water temperatures and low fish survival are contributing factors to low Sockeye harvest in the Fraser River. Let's take a look at the Sockeye market outlook for the remainder of the year...

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According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s news release, the 2018 inshore Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon run totalled 62.3 million fish.

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This is the largest run on record and the 4th consecutive year that inshore Sockeye runs exceeded 50 million fish.

The commercial harvest total for Sockeye in Bristol Bay hit 41.3 million fish.

This number is 10 percent above the preseason forecast of 37.6 million fish AND is the second largest harvest on record.

We asked Alexa Tonkovich, Executive Director at ASMI her thoughts on record Sockeye run "Sockeye Salmon is a hallmark species of the Alaska Seafood brand. Customers around the world associate the distinctive red color and rich flavor of Sockeye with the Alaska brand. Bristol Bay, being one of the most productive salmon runs in the world, is a significant part of this heritage. We’re proud and grateful as Alaskans to have such abundant, sustainable fisheries."

The ADF&G have yet to release Sockeye harvest totals for the Prince William Sound area however, preliminary inseason harvest estimates are showing 1.3 million fish harvested which is approximately 130 thousand less fish than 2017.

In the Canadian fishery, Fraser River Sockeye totalled 5.57 million fish as of September 28th in a report by the Pacific Salmon Commission.

Pre-season forecast from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans predicted a Fraser River Sockeye run size of 14 million fish.

High water temperatures and low fish survival are contributing factors to low Sockeye harvest in the Fraser River.

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Let’s go over to our Salmon Specialist Rob McNutt to discuss the market outlook for Sockeye.

Rob McNutt: "Prices have not softened (yet), quality has definitely been suspect this year. Similar to Haddock, the Barents Sea Atlantic Lots of rejections and claims for poor quality.

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There have been rumblings that Sockeye is not moving at the retail level as much as was anticipated due to high cost of the raw material. There is potential come end of winter/fall that there could be some volumes being released back on to the market. A lot of processors went straight to fillet production rather than speculate and hold H&G. There are very few H&G offers on the open market right now. Most vendors are saying they are holding inventories for their own production. Which if my theory is correct – will cause a good volume of H&G to become available due lack of sales at the retail level. This is just my prediction - BUT I can firmly say “there is not much H&G sockeye available (right now)". Keep tuned-in over the next couple months because I feel buyers commitments and sales will start to slow down and H&G sockeye will start to become more available at a lower price."

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