The first wholesale price for salmon is generally the best indicator of how well it should sell in world markets. Prices in 2011, so far, show nice increases nearly across the board.
In its Annual Salmon Price Report, the tax division of the state revenue department provides updated average wholesale prices for salmon throughout the year. The report is broken down by region and covers six product forms: canned, fresh and frozen whole, fresh and frozen fillets, and roe.
Reports are compiled from prices submitted by processors that sold at least 1 million pounds at wholesale. The report covering sales from January through April shows that prices were up substantially in almost every category.
By far most of Alaska's salmon pack goes out as headed and gutted frozen. Kings averaged $4.12 a pound, compared with $3.31 last year. Frozen sockeye averaged $3.00, an increase of 17 cents a pound. For chums, an average of $1.78 is up 41 cents. No frozen pink sales were listed through April; in 2010 the pink average was 91 cents a pound. The only decrease in frozen headed and gutted salmon was silvers, which averaged $2.37, down from $2.49 during the same period in 2010.
Frozen salmon fillets also showed nice increases through April, with kings fetching $8.75 a pound, up from $2.40. Sockeye fillets wholesaled at $6.29, compared with $5.18. Silvers averaged $5.13 a pound, up from $4.61; pink fillets were $2.69 a pound. Frozen chums averaged $3.34, an increase of 91 cents from last year.
The only other drop in price through April was for fresh headed and gutted kings at $9.23 a pound, compared with $10.11 during the first four months of last year.
Canned salmon, which makes up the second largest part of the annual pack, also showed strong gains. For cases of "talls" (14.75 ounces, 48 cans), sockeye averaged $144.88, up from $113.64; pinks were $78.60, compared with $77.81; and chums averaged $66.27 a case, compared with $55.60 last year.
Sales of canned silvers also made the 2011 list, averaging $89.66 a case.
Wholesale prices also increased for canned "halves" (7.5 ounces): sockeye cases sold for $78.71, compared with $67.31; and pinks averaged $47.22, up from $45.39.
Find the complete report at www.tax.alaska.gov.
Laine Welch is a Kodiak-based fisheries journalist. Her Fish Radio programs can be heard on stations around the state. Her column appears on Sundays in the Daily News. This material is protected by copyright. For information on reprinting or placing on your website or newsletter, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.