The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's April Seafood Market Bulletin offers interesting insights about the value of Alaska salmon as it is caught, processed, shipped and sold to consumers.
Part of the report, compiled by Andy Wink of the Juneau-based McDowell group, looks at the value chains for three different Alaska salmon products, based on 2011 Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Alaska Department of Revenue data. Example number one is troll-caught Alaska king salmon.
Fishermen in this low-volume fishery perform primary processing, dressing the fish onboard, the report says. For a 20-pound dressed king, trollers received $4.60 per pound from the processor, or a total of $92.
The processor then sells it to the distributor/wholesaler at $6 per pound, or a total of $120. Subtract out the $92 the processor paid to the fisherman, and the processor is left with $28 for the fish.
Next up is the distributor/wholesaler, who sells the fish to the retailer at $7.30 per pound, for a total of $146. Minus the $120 paid to the processor, the distributor/wholesaler ends up making $26.
Now fillets from that fish sell for as much as $32 per pound in high-end retail stores, but the average retail price falls more in the $20 to $25 per pound range, according to the report. And the price for unsold fillets will be marked down further.
Now take into account that a pound of dressed king delivered to a processor only yields 10 ounces of fillets. Retailers or secondary processors may buy the whole dressed king, but only sell the fillets, the report says. The fillet cost is marked up to cover the unsellable parts of the fish. The average retail price for the fillets comes in at $18.25 per pound.
So that 20-pounder will yield 12.6 pounds of fillets. At $18.25 per pound, the retailer will earn $229.95, but once you subtract the cost of the $146 paid to the distributor/wholesaler, the retailer nets almost $84 for that king.
Hence, the fisherman received 40 percent of that total $229.95 retail value of the 20-pounder, the processor got 12 percent, the distributor/wholesaler 11 percent, and the retailer 37 percent.
The report, which you can find here goes on to outline the value chain for sockeye salmon and canned salmon as well, and compares revenues of Alaska's salmon fishermen and processors, too, giving us a peek at how the salmon pie is sliced.
Photo credit: Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute