National Fisherman's Melissa Wood shares her stories as a writer and editor covering the U.S. fishing industry.
Wednesday, 28 November 2012
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.
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