Pink Salmon Market is Rebounding, Economic Study Finds

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, an influx of imported farmed salmon and growing inventories of canned salmon drove down prices for pink salmon. The industry has since rebounded by creating new products, balancing supply and demand of existing products, and capitalizing on favorable market conditions, according to findings from a recent economic report released by Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC), a key supplier of Alaska pink salmon.

During the past five years, Prince William Sound has produced 43 percent of the Alaskan pink salmon harvest, PWSAC said.

The pink salmon product-form shift from canned to frozen production had a major impact on the wholesale value of pink salmon products, which in turn increased the ex-vessel price for pinks, according to PWSAC. The wholesale price of frozen pinks climbed 37 percent to $1.27 per pound.

Meanwhile, the increased volume of pink salmon harvested and canned from Prince William Sound enabled other regions to efficiently focus on frozen production.

Today more health-conscious consumers are turning to wild salmon to meet their needs for alternative sources of protein, PWSAC noted. New consumers have entered the market, due to widely available and inexpensive farmed salmon, driving up demand for all sources, including Alaska wild caught salmon.

The recession increased demand for budget-friendly salmon choices. Over 50 new value-added products featuring pink salmon, such as salmon burgers, helped to fill the void.

The 2010 season produced the largest run of pink salmon in the history of the fishery, said Dave Reggiani, PWSAC general manager. "More than 50 million fish were caught and processed in just three weeks," he said.

The Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation is a private nonprofit corporation established by the legislature in 1973 to produce hatchery-born, ocean-raised wild salmon for the commercial, sport, personal use and subsistence fisheries in the Prince William Sound region. PWSAC operations are financed through the sale of hatchery fish to processors and a salmon enhancement tax paid by commercial fishermen.

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