Alaska Salmon Price Report, May-August 2009
The Alaska Salmon Price Report (ASPR) covers wholesale volume and first wholesale value, by species and area, for six key Alaska salmon products. It is the primary data source for most of the salmon market analysis published by the Seafood Market Information Service. The report as published by Department of Revenue is specific to area but is summarized into statewide totals here.
The May-August period is particularly significant, as it captures over 90 percent of the year���s fresh salmon sales activity (both fillets and H&G) and slightly over half of frozen H&G and roe sales activity for the year.
Total May-August first wholesale value continues to rise, up 10 percent from $405 million in 2008 to $447 million in 2009.
Frozen H&G salmon showed the greatest value difference from the previous year, up 43 percent from $134 million during May-August 2008 to $191 million in 2009. The frozen H&G value growth was driven by sales volume and price increases for sockeye and by sales volume increases for pink and chum.
First wholesale value of fresh and frozen fillets increased substantially, up 35 percent from $47 million in May-August 2008 to $64 million in 2009.
First wholesale value of H&G fresh sales was virtually unchanged, totaling slightly over $66 million for the May-August period in both 2008 and 2009.
Canned salmon showed a significant decline in total wholesale value for the period, down 24 percent from $88 million in May-August 2008 to $67 million in 2009. Average case prices were up substantially (particularly for pink salmon) but the price increase was offset by low sales volume for both pink and sockeye.
First wholesale value of salmon roe products decreased 16 percent from $70 million in May-August 2008 to $58 million in 2009. Sales volume for the period increased from 7 million in 2008 to 10 million pounds in 2009, but average prices dropped from the peaks of 2008 to levels more typical of the recent past.
H&G Frozen Salmon
Average wholesale price for H&G frozen sockeye increased 8 percent, from $2.22 to $2.39 per pound, a ten-year high for the period. Sockeye sales volume for the period increased by a more substantial margin, up 34 percent from 34 million pounds in 2008 to 46 million in 2009.
Frozen H&G sockeye production was approximately 77 million pounds in 2008 and is estimated at 85 million pounds in 2009. With May-August sales at 46 million pounds, pace of frozen H&G sockeye sales is at a five-year high; 54 percent of the pack was sold by the end of August.
Considering the modest production growth from 2008 to 2009, strong pace of sales for May-August 2009, and a ten-year high price for the period, the H&G sockeye market is clearly firming up.
There is a summary of frozen sockeye exports, pace of sales and estimated production elsewhere in this bulletin. .
The average first wholesale price of frozen H&G pink salmon declined slightly, from 96 cents per pound in May-August 2008 to 91 cents in 2009. Sales volume was up significantly, from 21 million to 36 million pounds.
While 2008 sales volume occurred in the context of a modest (84 million fish) pink harvest, the 2009 harvest was only slightly improved, at 96 million pinks.
The increased sales volume appears linked to a resurgence of U.S. frozen pink exports to China. During July-September of 2008, China imported 28 million pounds of frozen pink salmon from the U.S. During the same period in 2009, China imported 63 million pounds of U.S. frozen pinks.
The average first wholesale price for frozen H&G chum increased from $1.10 to $1.17 per pound in 2009. This is the strongest wholesale chum price in recent years, nearly triple the low point of 41 cents per pound during May-August 2002.
Frozen H&G chum sales volume for the period increased significantly, from 23 million pounds in 2008 to approximately 34 million pounds in 2009 (up 46 percent). The sales volume growth is significant in light of the price increase and the slightly smaller chum harvest of 2009.
After two years of strong prices, average May-August wholesale price for frozen H&G coho declined significantly in 2009. Average May-August wholesale price for frozen H&G coho was $2.09 per pound, down from $2.72 in 2008. Sales volume for the period was unchanged, remaining at 3.1 million pounds for both 2008 and 2009.
While 2008 was notable for the large size of coho at nearly 8 pounds per fish, the 2009 season was notable for small fish size, averaging 6.6 pounds. This may be contributing to the price decrease for coho, as the coho market is size-sensitive.
Wholesale prices for frozen H&G coho during May-August represent only a portion of the year���s total sales. May-August is usually a modest sales volume period for the product, typically accounting for 25 percent or less of annual sales.
After a five-year sales volume peak of 34 million pounds during the May-August period of 2007, total sales volume of fresh H&G salmon dropped to 21 million pounds in 2008 and to 19.8 million pounds in May-August 2009.
Despite the sales volume decrease, total value of H&G fresh sales for the May-August period was unchanged, totaling $66 million for both 2008 and 2009. Sales volume declines for pink and chum were offset by growth in higher-value fresh H&G sockeye sales, up from 11 million pounds in 2008 to 13 million pounds in 2009.
Average wholesale price for three of the five salmon species (pink, chum and sockeye) showed continued growth, pushing those prices to their highest point in the nine-year ASPR data set. Fresh H&G Chinook value declined substantially from $7.80 to $6 per pound, and coho price declined from $3.29 per pound to $2.90.
Fresh and Frozen Fillet
May-August sales volume and first wholesale value of frozen salmon fillets was little changed from 2008 to 2009. Total wholesale value rose slightly, from $34 million to $35 million. Sales volume was down slightly from 9.6 million to 9.5 million pounds. However, 2009 pink salmon frozen fillet sales could not be disclosed due to confidentiality issues with the data. Sales of frozen pink fillets were 1.6 million pounds in May-August 2008.
Sockeye generates most of the volume and value in the frozen fillet category. May-August sales increased from 5.8 million to 6.7 million pounds, but average wholesale price declined 13 percent, from $4.45/lb in 2008 to $3.86/lb in 2009. May-August is a relatively slow period for frozen fillet sales, averaging 29 percent of calendar-year sales volume in the last five years.
After significant increases in recent years, frozen fillet production growth leveled off in 2008. Statewide production of frozen salmon fillets grew from 17 million pounds in 2004 to 27 million pounds in 2008. Much of that increase was driven by frozen sockeye fillets, up from 5.9 million pounds in 2005 to 13.1 million pounds in 2008. While production figures for the 2009 harvest are not yet published, sales volumes for the May-August period do not suggest a major increase in statewide fillet production.
Fresh salmon fillet sales volume shows a major increase for 2009, up from 1.9 million pounds in May-August 2008 to 5.9 million pounds in May-August 2009. Total wholesale value was up from $13 million to $28 million.
About half the increase is simply improved data disclosure; fresh chum fillet data was confidential in 2008 but available in 2009. This accounts for 2.5 million pounds and nearly $6 million in value. Fresh sockeye fillet sales show a genuine increase, up from 1.3 million to 2.7 million pounds. With average first wholesale value at $6.88 per pound for the period, this represents value growth of $9.4 million over May-August 2008.
While these increases generate impressive growth percentages, fresh fillet remains a minor product form in the context of the full year. Nearly 90 percent of fresh fillet sales occur during May-August and fresh fillet products account for less than two percent of annual salmon wholesale value.
May-August 2009 average wholesale price of roe products declined substantially from the unusually strong levels of 2008, but still compare favorably with average prices of the recent past.
Sockeye, chum and pink roe are the primary products in the category. Chinook and coho account for relatively little roe production. May-August is the primary sales period, normally accounting for 50 ��� 55 percent of calendar-year roe sales. May-August sales in 2008 accounted for only 40 percent of calendar-year sales, but sales activity has apparently returned to the normal pattern for 2009. May-August 2009 sales totaled 10.5 million pounds, 53 percent of estimated roe production for 2009.
Sockeye roe averaged $4.96 per pound in May-August 2009, down from $6.27 in 2008, but still significantly higher than the 2005-07 average of $3.27 for the May-August period. Sales volume was strong, totaling 4.6 million pounds for the period. In fact, sockeye roe sales for May-Aug amount to 90 percent of estimated production from the 2009 season.
Pink salmon roe averaged $4.48 per pound, down from $9.14 in May-August 2008 and slightly higher than the 2005-07 average of $3.95 per pound. Sales volume was relatively light at just under 3 million pounds, only about one-third of estimated 2009 production.
Average wholesale price for chum roe during May-August 2009 was $7.60 per pound, down from $13.45 in 2008 but significantly higher than the 2005-07 average of $6.01 per pound. Sales volume was 2.8 million pounds, slightly over half of estimated production from the 2009 season.
Europe has emerged as a major market for Alaska salmon roe, but Japan remains the single largest export destination, accounting for 58 percent of U.S. salmon roe exports in 2008, and nearly 80 percent of YTD 2009 salmon roe exports.
While roe sales through August occurred at a normal rate and above-average price, Fall chum landings in Japan have been unexpectedly strong (over 40 million fish). This may affect prices and pace of sales for the remaining Alaska salmon roe inventory.