A spokesperson for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, or ASMI, says the organization recently received clarification about tariff changes that went into effect on July 6, for Alaska seafood products going into the Chinese domestic market. ASMI is a public-private marketing organization that promotes Alaska’s seafood industry.
“We previously thought that fish meal would not be included and we now know that fish meal products will be included in those proposed tariff increases from China,” ASMI Communications Director Jeremy Woodrow said.
Woodrow says $69 million in fish meal products were exported to China last year. And it is mostly used in animal feed. Woodrow says one of the largest generators of fishmeal is the Alaska pollock industry. The fishmeal market, he says, is important to Alaska because it ensures full utilization of seafood and helps generate revenue.
“The more that you can get out of the fish, the more everybody benefits. That’s right down to the fishermen, to the processors, as well as the communities,” Woodrow said.
Many fishing communities rely on a variety of fish taxes.
For example, according to the Kodiak Island Borough the borough received more than $2 million in 2017 through three types of fish taxes:
- $1.6 million dollars in severance tax (a direct production value tax on fish crossing the dock)
- $14,000 through a landing tax via the state of Alaska
- $1.1 million via the state through a fisheries business tax
Woodrow says some fresh fish and fish oil were excluded from the tariff. He adds that ASMI is asking its members to comment on the latest round of proposed tariffs on goods, including seafood from China, which includes seafood from Alaska that is reprocessed in China then imported back to the U.S.
Those tariffs were introduced on July 10. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative proposed increasing the tariffs last month from 10 to 25 percent.
The deadline to submit written comment was originally August 17. That deadline was recently extended to September 6.
Seafood is the second largest private industry in the state, after oil and gas, and directly employs more Alaskans than any other industry, according to ASMI, creating $2 billion in income.