Seafood Marketing Discussed at ComFish

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) and the McDowell Group teamed up for ComFish Alaska 2019 to give fishermen an update on where Alaska seafood stands in the global marketplace.

The short message was that the US dollars is strengthening against the yuan, yen and Euro, and the salmon market is positive, but trade disputes are a threat and the global whitefish supply outlook is lower.

The report noted that while quotas for the commercial halibut fishery are up by eight percent, for a total of 18.9 million pounds, the Canadian supply of halibut offers a challenge, but that early prices have been stable.

The quota for sablefish is 41 percent higher than a year ago, for a total of 46.4 million pounds.

According to the report, the quota for Pacific cod is down 40 percent since 2017, and while the value is rising, it is not enough. Meanwhile, the volume of P-cod in Russia is up, and that fishery is expected to get Marine Stewardship Council certification this year. The Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands total allowable catch for crab is higher by 20 percent, with record values.

The big challenges, said McDowell’s Garrett Evridge and ASMI’s Arianna Elnes, are the ongoing trade disputes with China, the Russian embargo and the uncertain issues of Brexit, in addition to significant competition from farmed and other proteins, and the high prices of some key species. But there are opportunities to be had with successful application for federal marketing funds, qualities that align with consumer ethos, and the fact that wild Alaska seafood has an incredible story to tell.

ASMI currently has eight regional programs in 31 countries to promote Alaska’s seafood, plus domestic promotions in foodservice, retail and through distributors.

Promotions for online sales in China sold over $1 million in product in return for only $10,000 spent in advertising, and a 2018 week-long retail promotion in Japan produced over $223 million in Alaska seafood sales for $35,000 worth of promotion, the report read.