Fleet Update: Volume, Bait, Tenders, and Shipping on Coastal

Dear SPC owners,

I saw many of you at the annual meeting last week. Lunch was a nice break from the ocean and our desks. There is lots of activity at 507 Katlian.

Prices: Sitka Prices as of today. Sablefish $7.60/6.50/4/3/2/1.50. Halibut $5.00/5.50/5.75. Targeted Ling $2.50. King Salmon $8.00

Volume at SPC: A regular note in every spring newsletter has been a plea for your volume. The math still holds true.  The more volume we move through the plant, the better it is for the pool. I am happy to say that this is a very different year for SPC. We have one pool this year and our volume is already substantially up from previous years.  Across the board, our volume is up 1/3 from last year. If early results are a good predictor, we are looking at very different year. The effect of the ‘one pool’ will be spread across every pooled pound this year. Our early longline volume will benefit the last Coho delivery in September. We are going to be very competitive on cash prices this year, we want to buy all of your pounds. This year, I would like to invite people to pool their product to take advantage of the upswing at SPC.

Bait update:  The bait consumption for the IFQ season has continued to be extremely high.  We just unloaded another delivery from Coastal Transportation. They delivered squid, pollock and Saury on Monday. We got a better deal on this load of squid.  Our new price on squid is $1.50. We purchased two pallets of Saury to give people more options. The price on Saury is $1.10.  The load of pollock arrived from Japan.  The size grade is excellent and initial reports is that it is oily and fishy. Finally, we have two more containers of Russian pollock coming our way.  It should arrive to Sitka around June 10th.

Russian pollock has been in extremely short supply. It is without a doubt, the preferred bait for sablefish longline. China is in a hunt for cheap protein. They have started buying small pollock for human consumption. This trend is likely to continue and get worse. Last week, I located and purchased an unreasonably large supply of Russian pollock. This will carry us nicely throughout the season. We are running low on the more affordable Canadian pollock. When they start fishing again this winter, we will get more of that in inventory as well.

New equipment: The Coastal tramper delivered some new equipment for the processing floor. We have made significant investment in tools to expand our chum program. If you drive by the shop you will see a shiny stainless fish pump and a new header and gutter system. Our second plate freezer for chum roe is making its way to the floor. These tools will help us get the fish off the tenders and through the freezer faster with higher overall quality and value.

Quality on tenders: As we look forward to the salmon season, we have been talking about quality on tenders. We are not changing our quality guidelines, but we are going to be following them closer than ever before. Our biggest areas of improvement are age of fish on dressed salmon and frozen eggs on round chums. I will send a separate email about quality improvements for the 2019 season. We got some good tips from chum troll highliners on how to setup a new boat for the round chum fishery. We will be deploying CQR fish quality tools on our tenders this year. It is a powerful tool that quantifies handling, shelf life and overall quality of seafood. A link to their website: http://certifiedqualityseafood.com/

Shipping on Coastal: The next ship is scheduled to leave the Seattle on July 7th.  Coastal is becoming a larger factor in our plans for SPC this year.  In addition to bringing up our bait supply, they have offered to bring up general cargo for our owners. They can do frozen or dry goods, from cannonballs to generators. Costco Business Delivery service will bring pallets of goods to their dock. I have their rate sheet and contact information in my office. The rates are substantially lower than Samson/AML rates. If you want to gear or grub up for the season, this is a good way to keep the expenses down.

Stephen Rhoads
(907) 738-0128 Mobile