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Coho Salmon Pricing on the Rise Amidst Puget Sound Fishery Closure

07 June 2016

US - Discussion between State and Tribal Fishery Managers has closed fishing in the Puget sound for Salmon and Steelhead since 1 May, and it could still be another couple of weeks before we see a re-opening, reports Robert Reierson in the Tradex Foods 3-Minute Market Insight.

Pre-season planning for the area typically wraps up in mid-April, noted Laurie Peterson from the Washington Department of Fish and Game, but conservation constraints have caused delays up to May 26 this year.

Coho forecasts for the 2016 Puget Sound fishery are dismal, a shocking 71 percent lower than 2015 forecasts and less than 200,000 fish.

Laurie Peterson cited extremely low run sizes for Coho, which are expected to be only 1/6th of the average and will be poor across the entire Coastal area.

Low mountain snowpack, warm water temperatures, and reduced river and stream flows have all negatively effected Salmon in 2015.

As for pricing, last month 2-4lb H&G GMC Coho Salmon from the Puget Sound was at $1.40 / LB in Seattle.

We expect pricing to rise for Coho and to be the highest increase across salmon species.

--- For Chinook salmon, also called King salmon, prices could rise in Alaska but should be steady out of Washington, mostly due to a lower-than-normal run size with an overall neutral outlook for 2016.

--- Looking at Chum salmon in the Puget Sound, forecasts are decent this year and we are expecting a run of 490,000 fish in the Hood Canal and 536,000 fish in the Central and South Sound.

This year's chum salmon pricing should be on par with last year, when a 4-6lb H&G Semi-Brite Chum was at $1.50 /lb in Seattle.

--- And finally, we can't talk about salmon without mentioning Fraser River Sockeye.

Sockeye forecasts are down substantially in 2016 at 2.3 million sockeye expected, and that is dependent on an opening at all.

Laurie Peterson alluded do minimal days on the water for the non-treaty US purse seine and gillnet fleets in the Fraser.

We do think Sockeye prices are guaranteed to rise, despite resistance from buyers to keep pricing down.

Overall, Puget sound fish has typically never demanded a premium, but with lack of Alaskan fish in 2016 buyers should prepare for prices to rise.

TheFishSite News Desk

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