Ups and downs in Alaska salmon sales
October 20, 2012
The wild salmon catch goes to market in many forms such as canned, fresh or frozen, fillets and roe. The state Revenue Department/Tax Division provides quartile reports on first wholesale prices for all of Alaska’s salmon forms by species and region. Its report covering May – August shows lots of wild salmon fillets were tossed on the grill this summer, and people were willing to pay more for them.
Alaska processors produced more than 13 million pounds of salmon fillets during the summer season. Prices for king fillets averaged $11.45 per pound, a 70 cent increase over last year. Fresh sockeye salmon fillets averaged $7.60/lb, and $7.24/lb for coho fillets – an increase of 66 cents for both. Only chum fillets fell at wholesale to $3.25 a pound, down 52 cents from last summer.
Salmon roe prices, especially for pinks and chums, showed big jumps this summer. Pink salmon roe at $9.28/lb was a 53% increase over last season; chum roe increased from $12.17 to $15 per pound.
Nearly two million pounds of sockeye roe ($6.31/lb compared to $5.31/lb ) came from Bristol Bay, valued at over $12 million. Prince William Sound led the pack for pink salmon roe at one million pounds worth more than $11 million. Southeast Alaska scooped the most chum roe – 1.2 million pounds valued at nearly $21 million.
On the down side: most of Alaska’s salmon catch is sold in headed/gutted form, either fresh or frozen. Those wholesale prices were down nearly across the board.
Here’s a sampler with 2011 prices in parentheses:
Fresh H&G sockeye - $.367 ($3.77); pink salmon - $1.31 ($1.43);
Chum - $1.67 ($2.10). The fresh king salmon wholesale price averaged $7.49/lb, an increase of 82 cents per pound; cohos increased two cents to $3.42/lb.
Frozen H&G sockeye - $2.81 ($3.17); king salmon - $3.16 ($4.10); pinks - $1.23 ($1.45); coho - $2.58 ($2.66); chum - $1.40 ($1.87).
Alaska’s preliminary salmon catch for 2012 totaled just under 124 million fish.
King crab market clipped
Crabbers agreed to an advance price of $7.25/lb for red king crab shortly after they dropped pots last week in Bristol Bay waters.
“This represents approximately 90% of the expected final price given current market conditions. Of course, market conditions are subject to change,” said Jake Jacobsen, director of the Inter-Cooperative Exchange, which represents a majority of the Bering Sea crab fleet.
Nearly eight million pounds of red king crab will come from Bristol Bay waters this season, about the same as last year. Prices topped $10 a pound to fishermen after sales in 2011, the market has shifted quite a bit this year.
“After the record run up in prices last year when they were over $20 a pound (shipped to Japan or Seattle for brine/bulk crab) a lot of buyers backed away,” said John Sackton, a crab market expert and editor of Seafood.com. “There also were reports prior
This year marks the 21st year for this weekly column that focuses on Alaska’s seafood industry. It began in 1991 in the Anchorage Daily News, and now appears in over 20 newspapers and web sites. A daily spin off – Fish Radio – airs weekdays on 30 radio stations in Alaska. My goal is to make all people aware of the economic, social and cultural importance of Alaska’s fishing industry to our state, the nation and the world.