ASMI Study Identifies High Value Potential for Fish Oil

A report released this week by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) looks at challenges and opportunities for the state’s specialty seafood products, from the costs of production and market development to proportionate savings in costs gained by increased production.

The study by the McDowell Group examined the challenges and potential for fish heads, fishmeal and oil, roe products, internal organs, specialty crab products, herring fillets, Arrowtooth flounder, spiny dogfish and skates.

Several common production hurdles identified in the report include capacity limitations, economies of scale, lower production and investment priority for specialty products and low value species, production costs and market development costs.

Fish oil was identified as having the highest potential for increased total value, with opportunities in supplement market offers having much higher value. The challenge would be in refining the product to supplement grade and accessing new markets. Alaska’s supply of fish oil from 2011–2015 averaged 54 million pounds, but there is potential for 201 million pounds, the report read. The first wholesale value of fish oil from Alaska during that period averaged $30 million.

Roe, by contrast, had an average first wholesale value of $413 million for those same years for an average supply of 40 million pounds, but estimates on roe’s potential growth in pounds was unavailable. The report identified the challenges in the roe market to oversupply of some species and stagnant demand in key markets, plus variable production and quality. Still McDowell saw opportunity for new products in traditional markets in the U.S. and Europe.

Fishmeal and bone meal, with an average supply of 142 million pounds, had a first wholesale value of $108 million, and the McDowell group identified opportunities in pet food markets, soil remediation and large potential supplies. The challenges were identified as creating economies of scale for new production and commodity product itself.

The report is intended to serve as a reference document for ASMI, the industry, buyers and economic development professionals. It can be found online at