Alaska seafood marketers are facing some strong headwinds heading into 2015, notably for sockeye salmon and crab.


Snow crab is Alaska’s largest crab fishery, underway now in the Bering Sea. The fleet has a slightly increased 61 million pound catch quota; boats also are tapping on a hefty bairdi Tanner crab catch, the larger cousin of snow crab.


A 25 percent increase in snow crab, the unexpected 15 million pound Tanner fishery, a weak Japanese yen, plus several million pounds of Russian snow crab from a new fishery in the Barents Sea (not to mention all the pirated crab) -- all are combining to give buyers plenty of choices, said market expert John Sackton.


Another twist: Lower king crab prices have given retail and foodservice buyers more alternatives, including a new entry -- Argentinean Southern red king crab.


Global market forces also are causing downward pressure on Alaska sockeye prices. The unanticipated big run at Bristol Bay had processors producing more frozen reds than expected (while at the same time the 10 million sockeye catch from the Fraser River took some of the wind out of Alaska’s fresh sales).


In the face of another huge sockeye salmon run expected at Bristol Bay again this summer, unsold sockeye inventory remains piled up in freezers.


Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch News>>


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