Chinese tariffs challenge Alaska seafood, new markets emerge

Chinese tariffs challenge Alaska seafood, new markets emerge

Alaska pollock required in school lunches

Alaska’s fishing industry provides more jobs than any private sector in the state. Last Tuesday, the House Special Committee on Fisheries received an update from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

The tariff war with China remains a concern. The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute put a lot of effort into selling Alaska’s seafood to China, said Jeremy Woodrow, the interim executive director of the ASMI.

For every $10,000 spent on marketing in China, the Alaska seafood industry gets $1 million.

But with the tariff war between the U.S. and China, Woodrow said, “We are expecting big drop offs in our Chinese market.”

However, Woodrow had plenty of positive news to report. In December, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan was able to add a provision to the Farm Bill that would require Alaska seafood pollock to be used in fish sticks in American school lunches. Previously, fish sticks in American school lunches were comprised of Russian pollock. Woodrow said this would equate to about $30 million a year. Alaska pollock makes up the bulk of the Alaska’s fishing harvest volume: 57 percent of the 5.9 billion pounds of seafood harvested in a year.

Ukraine has been a growing market for Alaska seafoods ever since the Russians placed an embargo on U.S. fish about five years ago, Woodrow said this market has been steadily growing.

“It’s not a giant market, but we’re trying to expand our markets,” Woodrow said. “You know how China tariffs have impacted our markets. You don’t want to have all your eggs in one basket.”

Alaska Seafood exports 60 percent of its products to foreign countries, according to Woodrow. He said Alaskans are not the people buying Alaska seafood, because Alaskans typically catch their own fish.

AMSI is a public-private entity that receives federal and commercial dollars to promote Alaska seafood in markets outside of Alaska. Commercial fishing members pay a fee to have their products promoted and use the Alaska seafood label, too. The State of Alaska was contributing more than $4,000 in Fiscal Year 2016, but that number dwindled until the state quit contributing to AMS in fiscal 2019.

The fisheries committee consists of Reps. Sarah Vance, R-Homer; Geran Tarr, D-Anchorage; Louise Stutes, R-Kenai; Chuck Kopp, R-Anchorage; Jonathan Kreiss Tomkins, D-Sitka; and Lance Pruitt, R-Anchorage.

Contact reporter Kevin Baird at 523-2258 or Follow him on Twitter at @alaska_kev.

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchor Point house fire leaves one dead, one in serious condition

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Wrangell Institute was one of many residential schools in Alaska dedicated to involuntarily teaching the Indigenous people of the state European ways of living, forcibly breaking them from their own Alaska Native cultures. (Courtesy photo / National Park Service)
Churches respond to revelations about residential schools

That acknowledgement is taking a number of forms, varying by institution.

The entrance to the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in the Tongass National Forest was covered in snow on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, a day after federal authorities announced the next step in restoring the 2001 Roadless Rule on the forest. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Feds put freeze on Roadless Rule rollback

On the Roadless Rule again.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Historic sockeye run predicted for Bristol Bay

ADF&G says 2022 run could break this year’s record

A reader board sign on the Sterling Highway announces COVID-19 testing and vaccines at the South
No current COVID-19 patients at South Peninsula Hospital

Test rates, ER visits and admissions are dropping for Homer

Family practice physician Christina Tuomi, D.O., (right) gets Homer’s first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine from Emergency Department nurse Steve Hughes (left) on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020 at South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alaska. Tuomi has been the hospital’s medical lead throughout the pandemic. (Photo courtesy Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
Feds issue vaccine mandate to health care workers; Dunleavy joins lawsuit against the rule

Rule by CMS applies to hospitals, rural health clinics, community mental health centers.

Tim Navarre, president of the Kenai Peninsula Foundation, stands in a bedroom at a cold weather shelter set to open next month on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Shelter prepares to open doors

Efforts to establish a cold weather shelter on the peninsula have been in the works for years.

FILE - The Olympic rings stand atop a sign at the entrance to the Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., on July 8, 2020. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, declared "squaw" to be a derogatory term and said she is taking steps to remove the term from federal government use and to replace other derogatory place names. The popular California ski resort changed its name to Palisades Tahoe earlier this year. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)
Interior secretary seeks to rid U.S. of derogatory place names

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday formally declared… Continue reading

Alaska man pleads not guilty to threatening 2 US senators

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.

Most Read