The 2021 Pacific Salmon Season is Well Under Way

Pacific salmon had a rough 2020 when looking at catch volumes. Will 2021 be better?

Low catch volumes observed in 2020, will the trend change in 2021?

Catches of Pacific salmon for the 2020 season were the lowest recorded in decades. In fact, low catch volumes were observed for all catch nations and for all species. That leads us to 2021. Have the catch volumes increased or is it likely that the 2020 catch volume trend continues? The 2021 Pacific salmon season is well under way with strong sockeye catches in Alaska and overall salmon catches in Russia (as per July 19th) 2.4 times higher than last year. 

Based on available information from the main fishing nations, overall catches of wild Pacific salmon in 2021 is likely to end at a 10-year average level, which represents a 50% increase in catches compared to 2020. The largest increase is expected for pink salmon. 


Markets still dealing with challenges imposed by COVID-19

As we know, the wild Pacific salmon market in 2020 was highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, both impacting trade and consumption. The supply from main catch nations to the Chinese market saw a drop in volume due to low global catches in 2020, a drop caused by challenges facing shipping and strict COVID-19 inspection and testing in China. The supply of frozen salmon products from China to the US market was also strongly reduced in 2020, a reduction that likely impacted the demand for frozen Atlantic salmon fillets positively. 

Russia is also having some concerns about logistics related to this year's salmon season, this also related to COVID-19. Due to China's control measures on COVID-19, bulk shipping has been completely discontinued. Bulk shipping has been how Russia has traditionally delivered salmon to China (for consumption, processing and for temporary cold storage). As the salmon season is well underway, the Russian wild salmon sector is in a hurry to come up with other logistical solutions to this problem. 


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Image: Shutterstock by Kate Chris