Sockeye roe from Copper River fetches highest prices in 4 years in Japan

Price increases are due to weak yen, rising transportation costs and lower AK sockeye salmon forecast.

by | June 5, 2024

Copper River unfrozen salted sockeye roe is only available during this time of the salmon season.

By Tom Asakawa/
June 3, 2024

On May 31, this season’s first shipment of salted salmon roe (sujiko) from Copper River, Alaska, arrived at the Sendai Central Wholesale Market. One hundred three pails were planned, but arrival was delayed due to an air freight problem. The remaining 40 pails will be auctioned on June 7.

The entire shipment was delivered to Sento Gyoryu, a wholesaler at the market. The traditional lottery was held on the sales floor.

The wholesale price was $43.38/kg for first grade ($95.63) – which was (13% higher than the first shipment last year).

For second grade sujiko, the wholesale price was $40.83/kg for second grade ($90.01) – which was 14% higher than last year.

Third grade sockeye sujiko wholesaled for $38.28/kg ($84.39), 15% higher than last year.

These are the highest price levels in four consecutive years.

According to Sento Gyorui, this year, like last year, many businesses have a small inventory, and there is strong demand from specialty stores and mass retailers. The reasons for the increase in wholesale prices include the weak yen, rising transportation costs, and the forecast that Alaska’s sockeye roe production will be 30% lower than last year.

The Copper River salted sockeye salmon roe unfrozen production shipped by air is only available during this time of the season. It is a summer tradition and is popular in Miyagi and other parts of Tohoku. Since it is not frozen, it is lightly salted and has a mellow aroma.

Several retailers that do business with the company are planning a fair to promote the new arrivals of sockeye salmon and salted roe. A buyer at the Fresco supermarket said, “When I tried them, the sockeye salmon was fatty, and the salted roe had a mellow taste and was delicious. We want to meet the expectations of our customers, who look forward to the new arrivals every year.” 

Read more about the value of Alaska salmon roe here

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.


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