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Alaska aims to double pollock, salmon exports to Brazil

The Latin American market currently gobbles up around 2,000 tons of Alaskan fish annually. According to ASMI, this is primed for a stark increase.

The Alaskan seafood industry is aiming to double fish exports to Brazil in the next five years, a target driving in part by increased demand for species like Alaska pollock and salmon.

Brazil is one Alaska's newer markets. Total exports, including Alaska pollock and wild salmon species such as chum, pink and sockeye, currently run to around 2,000 metric tons a year.***

"I would say that in the next five years it will be double this," Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) Trade & Marketing Manager Carolina Nascimento told IntraFish.

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ASMI bases that optimism on a doubling of Brazilian consumption in a decade from 5 kilograms per capita to more than 10 kilograms, although levels remain low when compared with countries such as Portugal, Spain and France.

For the moment, expansion plans for the Brazilian market are mainly focused on Alaska pollock and salmon. Depending on market demand, ASMI could opt to give other species such as black cod and halibut a greater marketing push.

Brazil already has a developed appetite for salted, dried cod particularly around the Christmas and Easter period.

One of the aims is to expand partnerships with Portuguese salted cod processors such as Bom Porto and Riberalves, which buy Alaskan cod as a raw material before shipping it to Brazil in processed form.

Alaska views Brazil's large Japanese descendent community as a strong sales opportunity both in retail and foodservice terms.

More than 1.5 million Japanese descendents live among the São Paulo population of 17 million inhabitants, the largest Japanese Diaspora outside of Japan.

Alaskan products have already established a presence in some of the larger nationwide supermarkets in Brazil such as Pão de Açucar, Carrefour, Walmart and other smaller, regional chains including G Barbosa, Zona Sul and Zaffari.

Other small and medium-sized retailers are in Alaskan marketing executives' sights along with partnerships with foodservice chains and individual outlets.

"There are already a lot of Japanese restaurants in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro using the products and of course we would like there to be more," Nascimento said.

Northeastern states such as Bahia where fish consumption is well established, particularly in coastal areas, may also be a target for the Alaskan industry.

***[EDITORS NOTE: ASMI subsequently said the figure for Alaska pollock and wild salmon exports to Brazil was 3,000 metric tons "as figures can vary".]

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