Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Alaska's seafood marketing group gets millions from feds after losing out on state funds

A package of frozen fish fillets sold at Whole Foods carries the Marine Stewardship Council blue label. (Photo courtesy Marine Stewardship Council)
Marine Stewardship Council
A package of frozen fish fillets sold at Whole Foods carries the Marine Stewardship Council blue label.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) has been awarded $5 million in federal funding. The organization plans to use part of the monies to increase the Alaska seafood industry’s involvement in pet food products.

ASMI announced on July 9 that it received over $4 million of that money from a new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This federal program is set up to expand exports and diversify American agricultural commodities and commercial products.

The institute’s executive director, Jeremy Woodrow, said in a press release that the money would go to international marketing efforts. But it will also help boost Alaskan seafood products in the U.S. market, “where consumer demand for seafood has fallen dramatically and is sorely in need of marketing support,” Woodrow said.

The federal money comes after the institute was recently denied state funding for additional marketing programs by Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy. On June 28 he line-item vetoed $10 million out of the state budget for ASMI, which is a partnership between the state of Alaska and the Alaska seafood industry.

Although the governor’s office told the Alaska Beacon that supplemental funding could be given to ASMI during the next legislative session if the institute submits a more detailed marketing plan for how the funds would be spent.

The news also comes at a crucial time as the Alaska seafood industry faces increased pressures from the global market and decreasing dockside prices for fishermen statewide.

Separately, ASMI also received two $500,000 Saltonstall-Kennedy grants to help boost the state seafood sector’s participation in the pet food market among other things. For example, fish bones and fish oil are typically used in various pet foods.

According to the institute, U.S. pet food manufacturers purchased $893 million in seafood products for use in cat and dog food in 2022. But total agricultural products purchased by the sector were $6.9 billion, meaning only 13% involved the purchased seafood products.

Aside from developing and marketing Alaska fish pet food products, ASMI also plans to use one of the grants to compare seafood products in the state to successful ones being used in Iceland. This will allow the institute to determine, “which could be applied to Alaska seafood processes and species, as well as the reshoring of some processing to the U.S.”

Related Content