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Trade Mission News

Governor Goes Directly to Largest Japanese Trading Companies
to Market Wild Alaska Salmon


October 14, 2003
Tuesday - 12:50 am

Tokyo, Japan - Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski met over the weekend with top executives of several of the largest Japanese trading companies that import fish, and offer good potential to increase purchases of Alaska wild salmon.

"Governor Murkowski has been working hard to revitalize the salmon industry," said Margy Johnson, Director of Trade and Development. "He has met with fishermen, as well as processors in Alaska. Now he is taking his program to Asia to meet with the end users."

As little as five to ten percent of Japan's total salmon imports are from Alaska. Murkowski noted that "the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is doing a fantastic job in Japan. Unfortunately, ASMI's total budget for Japan represents only three percent of the budget of Alaska's major competitor, the Norwegian government," Murkowski said.

"Most farmed salmon comes into Japan frozen, not fresh," Murkowski said. "I was concerned to learn that, while demand for salmon in Japan is still high, demand for Alaska wild salmon is low."

"As we have known for some time, the market for Alaska salmon has been neglected to a minor, niche market in Japan," said Bob Thorstenson, President of United Fishermen of Alaska. "Our mission is to change that."

"This trip has allowed us to meet with interested potential importers to find out more alternatives for our product, to capitalize on our niche market as wild, and explore new opportunities for marketing pink salmon products," Murkowski said. The meetings included one with Nippon Suisan, which agreed to search for new product forms for wild Alaska pink salmon.

During his meetings and speaking engagements, Murkowski has touted the benefits of eating salmon, such as lower cholesterol and general health benefits, high Omega-3 oils, and improved memory.

In Tokyo, where the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Japan relationship is being celebrated this year, the Discover Alaska reception was hosted by U.S. Ambassador Howard Baker and his wife Nancy Kassebaum Baker, long-time friends of the Murkowskis. Both Baker and Kassebaum served in the Senate with Murkowski.

Murkowski departed for Korea on October 13, where a Discover Alaska Reception will take place at Ambassador Thomas Hubbard's residence. The governor and his trade delegation will also meet with DaeRim Corporation, CJ Foods System, Korean Air, Korea Zinc Company, Korea International Trade Association, Korea Gas, Saho Corporation, Da In Forest, and Young Chang Company.

While in Korea, Murkowski will meet with Prime Minister Kun Goh. A signing ceremony is also scheduled with Hyundai Merchant Marine Company and Korea East West Power Company concerning the purchase of coal from Alaska.



Source of News Release:

Office of the Governor
Web Site


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