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U.S. output to hit 180,000 tons by 1990, Arctic Alaska president tells conference.

U.S. Output to Hit 180,000 Tons by 1990, Arctic Alaska President Tells Conference Surimi production in the United States will reach 180,000 tons by 1990, according to Terry Baker, president and CEO of Arctic Alaska Fisheries Corp.

That will mean 900,000 tons, three-quarters of the total allowable catch of 1.2 million tons of round fish, going into surimi, he told the International Seafood Conference.

The rest will go into fillets, Baker said, but: "Eventually, fillet production may become less significant as surimi becomes more known in the world market and technology improves in surimi-based seafood products."

Japanese frozen surimi output has hovered at the 400,000-ton level since 1973, after having grown from virtually nothing over the previous 13 years. The U.S. market for surimi-based products has grown rapidly, reaching 60,000 tons last year.

Factory vessels, as opposed to land-based plants, account for 60% of Japanese surimi production, Baker said. "It is my opinion that, in the United States by the time the surimi industry is mature, factory vessels will produce about 75% of the surimi, with land-based plants producing 25%.

Although a couple of factory trawlers went into service in 1980 and 1982, after the U.S. had declared a 200-mile limit, these were devoted strictly to production of fillets. It wasn't until 1986 that Arctic Alaska installed a small surimi production line on its mother ship, the Arctic Enterprise.

Between 1982 and 1987, the Japanese were caught in the dilemmas of transition: joint venture operations involving over-the-side purchase of fish from American vessels, or investment in American processing operations. With three U.S. firms beginning production of surimi in 1986, the emphasis has switched to investment.

As a matter of fact, Baker said, the industry is now fully capitalized in terms of both factory vessels and shore installations, and further investment would only reduce each operator's slice of the pie. Technology transfer from Japan is not only complete, but has been improved upon -- Arctic Alaska uses Baader filleting machines from West Germany, U.S.-built conveyors and washing systems, Japanese screw presses and refiners, and Danish refrigeration and water-making equipment.

PHOTO : Terry Baker, president of Arctic Alaska Fisheries, advises conference delegates on the

PHOTO : production of surimi in the U.S.
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Title Annotation:Terry Baker addresses audience at International Seafood Conference
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jan 1, 1989
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