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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 530 | AIRED 03/22/2021

Alaska vs Russia Salmon Forecast: What the Data Actually Reveals

March 22nd, 2021 --- This week we report on the World's Two Largest Wild Salmon Producing Fisheries (Alaska and Russia) as recent forecast announcements are calling for big harvest from both sides this year - however in this episode, we examine the data to reveal what it actually shows.

--- Starting with Alaska and on Thursday March 11, The Alaska Department of Fish & Game released its preseason forecast for the 2021 Salmon Season and it is projecting a harvest of 190.1 million fish, a sharp rise from the 118.3 million fish harvested in 2020.

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Taking a look at odd-year data (going back to 2009) and it is interesting to note that during odd-year seasons, Alaska has always harvested at least 90 percent of the preseason forecast (with the exception of 2011 showing 87 percent, but 2013, 2015, and 2017 showing well above 100 percent of the forecast harvested.

This is a very auspicious indicator of the volume of Wild Pacific Salmon that "will" actually be produced from Alaska's 2021 season.

Referencing back to the data again, and although the industry is touting a big Salmon harvest for 2021, harvest data shows that since 2013, odd-year season harvest has actually been on the decline.

Nonetheless, a harvest of 190 million fish out of Alaska roughly translates to an estimated 400,000 metric tonnes of New Season Alaska Salmon for the global markets this year.

ALASKA Salmon Forecast & Harvest

Moving over to Russia for a moment, scientists are forecasting for a harvest of 459.3 thousand metric tonnes of Russian caught Wild Pacific Salmon from an estimated 300 million fish.

Taking a look again at the odd-year data (but for Russia), the number of Salmon harvested during odd-year seasons show that it has been on the rise since 2015.

Globally, a veteran Wild Pacific Salmon expert we spoke to projected an estimated 930,000 metric tonnes of Pacific Salmon to be harvested from all countries including Canada, Japan, and Korea in 2021.

This is up from 600,000 metric tonnes from 2020 and down from about 970,000 metric tonnes from 2019 coinciding with our Salmon expert's predictive modeling that is forecasting for a steady decline of Salmon run magnitude and catches throughout the North Pacific.

RUSSIA Salmon Forecast & Harvest

--- Moving onto the market side and it's no surprise that the availability of Wild Salmon offers are sporadic at best.

One of the few options we are seeing on Sockeye right now are for False Pass caught 4-6lb headed-and-gutted Sockeye and we anticipate limited Sockeye offers to pop up occasionally.

For Chum Salmon, we continue to see a shortage on offers due to a very poor harvest last year, with limited time offers also intermittently popping up.

Our recommendation here is to not hesitate in securing your Chum Salmon requirements as the procurement of this species over the last 6 to 7 months have been extremely difficult.

As such we have our value-added SINBAD Gold Chum Salmon Fillets & Portions at a great price, readily available in our cold storages in Los Angeles and Boston - please inquire if you need Chums.

Frozen-at-Sea King Salmon are sold out as demand for Fresh Troll and Troll FAS combined with a lower catch caused a shortage, however there are still limited options for Dark Skin GMC Kings from Columbia River and British Columbia Canada.

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---Moving onto Halibut and the fishery on the West Coast has just opened on March 6, with the latest pulse on the harvest showing for just over 500,000 lbs landed which is about 2 percent of the 39 million lb fishing limits set for 2021.

Just as anticipated, grounds prices are high again at the start of the season with the fish being sold Fresh Headed-and-gutted into Seattle.

We do not anticipate any New Season Frozen Halibut until April.

Global Wild Pacific Salmon Harvest

With most of North America transitioning out of winter and into Spring, the marketplace is really starting to buzz as more fisheries start up.

Such as the much anticipated Canadian Snow Crab fisheries set to start in April/May which is the largest producer of Snow Crab - single-handedly responsible for producing about 150 million lbs annually for the global markets.

Stay tuned for upcoming substantial market insight reports on Snow Crab, Pacific Halibut, and Pink Shrimp in the coming weeks.

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