EP 486 | AIRED 05/04/2020
May 4th, 2020 --- In this week's episode we address key Commercial Fishery COVID-19 Mandates and how that could affect your Salmon Purchasing Programs over the next few months as a Seafood Buyer.
--- Governor Mike Dunleavy and the State of Alaska issued Mandate 017 that went into effect April 24 and will be re-evaluated by May 20, 2020 if further requirements are necessary.
Health Acknowledgement Forms, written or time-stamped logs, arrival screenings, and self-quarantines are only some of the strict COVID-19 protocols in-place for fishermen and processors.
For processors, prior to taking or purchasing any fish from a vessel they must receive a signed copy of the vessel’s Health Mandate Acknowledgement form.
Catcher and tender vessels may have local community contact for such reasons as offloading, resupply, and maintenance.
For crewmembers who live locally or return to port daily, crewmembers and families or roommates must comply with Health Mandate 011 on social distancing.
Other crew may not disembark the vessel while in port for non-essential purposes.
If a fisherman becomes sick, they will be required to isolate themselves on the boat. If they are unable to do so, the entire vessel will be under isolation.
Mandate violations may subject a business or organization to an order to cease operations, to civil fines of up to $1,000 per violation and up to $2,500,000 for businesses and organizations for a misdemeanor offense that results in death.
We've provided a link to Alaska's Health Mandates here.
--- Now moving onto how your Salmon purchasing could be affected over the next few months.
The assumption is to say that the Alaska Salmon Fishery is going to happen but we really won't know for sure until it does happen as we know a sudden COVID-19 outbreak in multiple Alaskan communities could see the whole thing shut down.
If the fishery does open, we can be sure that this season will not proceed as status quo in the past.
We should expect to see a reduced production of Alaskan Salmon due to COVID mandates, reduced employees, and facilities shutting down due to a COVID outbreak as work and living conditions can be quite confined to put it conservatively.
In the event of facility closures, larger companies will have the means to transport Salmon to another facility however the smaller operations will struggle.
Another variable for consideration is local community backlash where we could see protest and blockage of major road networks.
All of this also raises concern for the quality of Salmon that will come out of Alaska this season.
A lot of people will be tuning into watch how things proceed in the upcoming Copper River Fishery in what is to be a strong run.
In an off year season, statewide harvest projections for 2020 Alaska Salmon Fisheries are for just over 132,000,000 fish where 2019 saw just over 200,000,000 fish harvested.
--- Finally, let's move onto global Pacific Salmon harvest totals and what a limited Alaskan Harvest would look like against the other regions.
Preliminary 2019 harvest totals show that about 960,000 Pacific Salmon were harvested in British Columbia Canada, about 1,000,000 in Washington state, 92,000 in Oregon, 271,000 in California, 307,000,000 in Russia, and up to 40,000,000 from Japan for an output of over 500,000,000 wild caught Pacific Salmon.
Across the board most fisheries are poised to see lower returns this year with the B.C. Salmon Fishery most likely shutdown and a smaller forecast for Russian Pacific Salmon.
Our recommendation is to take on inventory for your Pacific Salmon needs as there are no guarantees what else might happen in 2020.
At Tradex Foods, we take pride in being Salmon experts so please do talk to your Tradex Rep about your Frozen and/or Fresh Salmon needs for 2020.