National Fisherman


Though Alaska is the biggest player in the U.S. seafood industry by far, the small role it plays on a global stage is surprising. The state hauled up 5.5 billion pounds in 2011, but that was only a small fraction of the world’s 100 million metric tons of seafood.

Despite hefty competition, however, there is good news for Alaska seafood — and its prices — according to Andy Wink of the McDowell Group. I watched his presentation about Alaska’s outlook for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute at Day 1 of the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle on Tuesday.

In the salmon industry, for instance, global supply is expected to go through the roof as Chile continues to come back after disease sidelined its farmed product. More fish in the market typically means lower prices for all.

This is where Alaska’s image helps. Though fishermen can’t “throw more feed in the water,” said Wink, their product is special enough to be set apart so consumers value it above farmed product. “I think one of the most encouraging things we’re seeing is the value of Alaska salmon continues to rise despite that competition,” said Wink.

Fishermen can help with marketing too. Tyson Fick, ASMI’s communications director, said the organization is trying to get fishermen more involved in telling the story of Alaska seafood — by telling their own stories. ASMI is holding a photo contest where entrants can win an Ipad if they win in one of five different categories.

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

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