Saturday, July 01, 2006

What's up with the price of Wild Salmon?

It is very clear that Wild Salmon prices are higher this year then in previous years. The factors that can be attributed to this increase are outlined below:

The price of fuel for the fishing fleet at the fuel barge in Kodiak, AK is running $4-$4.50 per gallon. This is 40% higher than last year.

The price of air freight is up 12%-18% over last year, mostly due to jet fuel price increases. Express services such as FedEx & UPS rates are up for both the jet & vehicle fuel related reasons.

With well maintained stocks, there are small increases in Salmon inventory year by year, but demand is significantly higher. The clear health benefits of Wild Salmon over farm raised fish are the key driver of market scarcity.

Salmon Size
Early salmon runs typically yield smaller fish. As the fish size average decreases, the recoverable meat as a ratio to the caught size goes down. Most of the fish caught in early runs average 4-6lbs. A 4-6lb salmon, filleted & boneless has 53%-58% recoverable meat. In larger fish, the recovery percentage goes up to 72%-76%.

Financial Analysis
Fuel is the largest expense incurred by the fishing fleet. Fuel alone has doubled the boat price for non-premium Salmon such as Pink & Chum. Premium Salmon species such as Coho, Sockeye & Chinook (King) are up 30 cents per pound as a result of fuel related costs.
Air freight & Express Services are up 14 cents per pound to deliver the fish to US Markets. LTL Reefer truck hauling has also increased by an average of 16 cents per pound.
Market demand has pushed both the fresh & fresh frozen markets up $2-$4 per pound over last year. It is unlikely that the surplus seen in past years will exist or be any significant percentage of the total catch.
Salmon size in Coho, Chinook & Sockeye are running small in the early season, thus the edible recovery is down 20% over late summer and early fall salmon runs.

The Crystal Ball
We expect that the average cost per pound of Premium Wild Salmon Species to be up $2.40 to $3.12 per pound for this years catch. Fuel & Transportation prices will mitigate the middle season price declines. Demand for larger fish with higher recovery will move prices up, eliminating the recovery gain from the larger fish.

Visit our Website for more information about Wild Salmon or our Online Store for current Salmon Pricing & Availability.


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