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3-Minute Market Insight

EP 534 | AIRED 04/19/2021

Pacific Halibut and Salmon Market Update

April 19th, 2021 --- This week we provide a Market Update on the New Pacific Halibut Season and also an update on the current landscape of the Salmon Market.

--- The 2021 Pacific Halibut Fishery kicked off March 6th and will run until December 7th this year, marking a second season running through the Coronavirus Pandemic.

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This year's season got started about a week earlier than 2020 and harvest volumes seem to be progressing at about the same pace as last year at about a month into the fishing season.

As of April 15th, 2.4 million lbs of new season Pacific Halibut have been harvested translating to about 8 percent of the 39 million lb fishing limit set for 2021.

Although harvest levels are showing a similar pace to last year, the season is said to have gotten off to a slow start mainly due to weather, however COVID protocols are also a factor potentially slowing down operations.

Typical of the start of the season, grounds prices are again too high to freeze and fish have been getting sold fresh Headed-and-gutted into Seattle.

Global Wild Pacific Salmon Harvest

We are anticipating the month of May to bring better weather leading to stronger fishing efforts and an expectation for pricing to drop low enough to start seeing Frozen new season Halibut offers in the market.

However, if you are currently in need of Frozen Pacific Halibut, let us know as we currently have access to a very limited supply of Frozen Halibut.

---- Moving onto the Salmon market and the current landscape is that inventories are short and will continue to remain short until the new season starts (which is around June).

The extreme lack of Chum Salmon has put a supply strain on all other species of Wild Salmon.

ALASKA Salmon Forecast & Harvest

For Chum, expect to pay last year's late season price with the potential for pricing to rise even further as freezers continue to remain bare due to an extremely poor 2020 fishing season.

Our recommendation is to start making your 2021 Chum Salmon commitments as soon as possible.

Buyers that do not engage in a program that secures them product will be left scrambling or left with nothing, as Salmon sales are positioned for another big year.

Fortunately, as we are entering an odd-year harvest for Wild Pacific Salmon, an estimated 930,000 metric tonnes are forecasted to be harvested globally, translating to about 330,000 metric tonnes more Salmon to hit the markets versus last year.

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--- Alaska’s 2021 Salmon Season is projected to be 62 percent higher than last year due mostly to an expected surge of Pink Salmon amounting to a forecast of 124.2 million fish.

Bristol Bay is forecasting to see another robust Sockeye run of over 51.1 million Sockeye translating to a potential harvest of 37.4 million fish.

Statewide, ADF&G is also forecasting for 46.6 million Sockeye, 15.3 million Chum, 3.8 million Coho, and 296,000 Chinook Salmon.

RUSSIA Salmon Forecast & Harvest

--- In Russia, Pink Salmon will also lead the pack with a harvest forecast of 322.3 thousand metric tonnes (or 267.81 million Pink), up from 176 thousand metric tonnes in 2020.

Russian Chum Salmon harvest is anticipated to hit 93.5 thousand metric tonnes (or 30.48 million Chum) for 2021, up from 79 thousand metric tonnes last year.

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