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Quarterly trade report: year-end figures filed.


Year-End Figures Filed

The total value of Alaska's exports in 1990, $3.59 billion, surpasses the 1989 figure of $2.56 billion by 40 percent. Except for timber, which dropped almost 3 percent in value because of softening markets, all sectors posted gains.

Increasing the most in value during 1990 were mineral exports, which jumped 339 percent. Ore exports from the Red Dog Mine near Kotzebue contributed significantly to that growth. Another spectacular gain was recorded in the "other" category, which climbed 152 percent. This sector includes air cargo brought to Anchorage by international freight companies that use the city as a hub in their international distribution systems. Because of trade regulations, Anchorage is considered the port of export for products from the continental United States that are shipped out of the country from Anchorage.

Alaska's 1990 seafood exports were up 32 percent over those of 1989. Japan accounts for the lion's share of the state's overseas seafood sales, 85 percent of 1990 exports. That share has fallen since reaching 95 percent in 1988, largely because of Alaska's increasing groundfish sales to other nations, but Japan continues to consume almost all of Alaska's salmon exports.

Europe's share of Alaska's seafood exports, meanwhile, has increased from 1 percent in 1988 to almost 7 percent in 1990. The value of Alaska's exports to Europe leaped 458 percent last year, from $17.5 million in 1989 to $97.7 million in 1990, primarily because of increased groundfish sales.

Further analysis of Alaska's seafood exports and worldwide seafood consumption follows on subsequent pages.

Mixed Bag. Bill Aberle, coordinator for the Information Services Program operated by the Alaska Center for International Business, observes that seafood consumption around the world is changing. He says, "There's good news and bad news. The good news is that people around the world are eating more salmon. The bad news is it's not our fish."

In particular, Aberle notes Alaska is missing opportunities offered by a major market in its own backyard: a boom in fresh salmon consumption in U.S. markets that has boosted exports from Canada and Norway. The United States imported 41,365 metric tons of fresh salmon in 1990, up 11 percent from 37,270 metric tons in 1989.

Throughout the past decade, U.S. fresh salmon imports have grown; in 1981, only 910 metric tons were imported. Similarly, total U.S. salmon imports leaped from 3,180 metric tons in 1981 to 50,000 metric tons in 1990.

Contributing to the rise in fresh salmon consumption are sales of farmed fish. Although pen-reared salmon costs more than fresh wild Alaska salmon, it can be supplied year-round.

Fresh and frozen salmon imports also have been rising in Europe, exceeding 100,000 metric tons for the first time in 1988. Figures from only four nations were available as of early May, showing 1990 imports of fresh and frozen salmon of 147,000 metric tons. Complete figures are expected to exceed 170,000 metric tons. Fresh salmon accounted for 96 million metric tons of the preliminary import tally.

Europe's combined salmon imports now exceed those of Japan, at 157,000 metric tons in 1990. Far and away, the greatest portion of Japan's salmon imports -- 150,000 metric tons -- was frozen salmon. Japan has a large domestic salmon harvest of its own, approximately 300,000 metric tons in 1990.

Most U.S.-exported salmon is harvested in Alaska. Last year Alaska salmon accounted for 94 percent of the U.S. salmon harvest. In 1990 the United States exported 172,725 metric tons of salmon, valued at $861 million. Both the dollar value and quantity dropped from the previous year; in 1989, the United States exported 181,365 metric tons in sales totaling $913 million. In 1988, U.S. salmon exports of 156,820 metric tons brought $1.13 billion, almost a dollar more per pound.

One place where Alaska seafood exports are gaining attention is Germany. Alaska fish exports to Germany rose from only $367,000 in 1989 to more than $46 million in 1990. Increases in seafood consumption in that nation reflect greater use of groundfish. Packaging on pollock imported from Alaska is labeled as Alaskan fish.

Norway also imported Alaskan groundfish last year, chiefly pollock. From $1.4 million in 1989, that nation's imports of Alaska seafood jumped to $28.9 million in 1990.

PHOTO : The quarterly trade report is produced with the assistance of the University of Alaska Anchorage's Alaska Center for International Business.
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Title Annotation:statistics for Alaskan exports in 1990, including seafood exports and salmon importing around the world
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Date:Jun 1, 1991
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