AD Header Dropdowns

AD Main Menu

Fishermen landed 219 million pink salmon in Alaska; can they sell that many?

Margaret BaumanThe Cordova Times
Commercial fishermen hauling in part of the record 219 million pink salmon caught in Alaska this year. Courtesy of Alaska Department of Fish and Game

A record pink salmon harvest of 219 million humpies has the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute scurrying to provide markets for all that fish.

During ASMI's all-hands meeting in Anchorage last month, the board directed staff involved in marketing on the domestic and international front to come up with a budget up to $1.5 million more than their current budgets in those areas to promote the millions of pink salmon landed during the 2013 fishery.

The board wants to hear from those engaged in domestic food service marketing, domestic retail marketing and international marketing on their thoughts on how best to market canned frozen headed and gutted and frozen fillets of pink salmon, said Kevin Adams, board chairman.

Included in that $1.5 million for promoting humpies will be ASMI's Alaska global food aid program, created by Alaska salmon fishermen in 2005 to provide nutritious proteins via canned salmon to populations with food insecurities. To date this food aid program, which also provides needed markets in years of abundant pink salmon harvests, has partnered with non-governmental organizations in Bolivia, Cambodia, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Jamaica, Laos and Uganda to see how canned Alaska pink salmon, as well as canned herring, can be worked into food aid programs in meals appealing to residents of these countries.

Programs currently offering Alaska canned salmon include the U.S. Department of Agriculture's domestic school lunch program, Women, Infants & Children Nutrition (WIC) and other domestic programs, the McGovern Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, Food for Progress, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Food for Peace Program.

The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program is a global school-feeding program that promotes education, child development and food security for some of the world's poorest children.

The McGovern-Dole program, funded with $200 million annually through the federal farm bill, provides donations of agricultural commodities and financial and technical assistance for school feeding and maternal and child nutrition projects in low-income countries.

The Alaska Global Food Aid Program assists non-governmental organizations and others with program design, ration selection, recipe development, storage, handling and preparation of dishes integrating canned salmon and other food aid commodities with local ingredients to feed cultural tastes.

The program also works with food aid consumers in Africa, Asia and Latin America on research and development of new health-protecting and easy-to-prepare products made from wild Alaska seafood.

Margaret Bauman is a reporter for The Cordova Times, where the preceding report first appeared. Contact her at mbauman(at)thecordovatimes.com