Salmon prices at wholesale show marked seasonal variations for both wild and farmed fish. It’s a pattern that has been tracked for decades by Urner Barry, the nation’s oldest commodity market watcher in business since 1895. The prices tend to decline through June, July, August and September and they begin rising again from November through the following April or May.
Two things drive the well-established pattern, said market expert John Sackton who publishes Seafood.com, an Urner-Barry partner.
“There’s a growth cycle for farmed salmon when they eat more and grow faster at certain times of the year, and so the harvests, particularly those that come into the US market from Chile for example, really peak in June, July and August, which are our summer months and the winter months in Chile,” Sackton explained. “Then there is the opening of the wild salmon season each summer and all of a sudden you get a lot more diversity and availability of Alaskan salmon.”
Sackton said buyers of both wild sockeyes and farmed salmon are starting to push back a bit on high prices. That’s likely reflected in the $3.50 advances for the first reds at Copper River in mid-May, which was down 50 cents from last year’s starting price.