One of the most common questions people ask in their quest to become more educated seafood consumers is: How much of the price of their wild Alaskan salmon is the shipping cost? As you might expect, there is no easy, definitive answer. Some fishing companies list their shipping costs separately, depending on the size of your order, but many companies offer free shipping for all but the smallest orders. Even when it comes to salmon shipped direct from Alaska, there are multiple options and shipping arrangements available. Nevertheless, there is some information and industry standards that can help you estimate how much of your total order goes toward the shipping cost.

How Much of Your Salmon Price is Shipping Costs?

If you’re a consumer who’s shipping a single batch of frozen salmon, you’re likely to pay around $5-$7 per pound total for the processing and shipping costs. Great Alaska Adventures, for example, has an arrangement for their customers to ship their catch back home in a 50lb box for $250 (2-day shipping) or $300 (overnight).

For even smaller orders that barely meet the minimum order size, the cost is likely to more like $7-$8 per pound. Take a look at this Alaska cruise forum for seafood processing and shipping costs in the town of Ketchikan. You can expect similar deals and shipping costs to be available through arrangements most charter fishing companies make with local seafood processing companies. Even without a connection to charter company, you can usually find similar processing and shipping solutions in fishing towns along the Alaskan coast.

Commercial fisherman who are processing and shipping thousands of pounds of salmon might end up paying $2-$4 per pound. Take a look at this cost guide for seafood processing and shipping from Jerry’s Meats and Seafood to get a general sense of what these services might cost. When these fishermen sell fresh seafood or frozen seafood over greater distances, they must pay a surcharge for overnight/express shipping. In many cases, frozen salmon products can be shipped with express 2-day shipping to ensure the salmon doesn’t thaw to the point of degrading the quality of the fish.

Salmon and Seafood Company Shipping Solutions

Some fishermen and fishing collaboratives maintain their own seafood processing facilities and negotiate directly with FedEx, UPS, USPS, and other commercial shipping companies. Other fishermen partner with and deliver their catch to local seafood processors. Often, the fishermen are responsible for selling the seafood to local customers back in the lower 48, but the processor is responsible for shipping the seafood to its final destination. Fishermen who handle their own processing and shipping arrangements can more tightly control their costs but may have fewer resources to troubleshoot disruptions to their normal processing and shipping methods.

Shipped Salmon and Storage Costs

In general, the ultimate goal of understanding salmon shipping costs is to make better seafood purchases by getting the best quality salmon at the best total price available. Even more than learning about the sources and methods of shipping salmon direct from Alaska, you need to identify your personal resources, local neighborhood connections, and how much total seafood you can reasonably enjoy. Here are some of the opportunities to look out for to get the best Alaskan salmon shipped to where you live.

  • Community-Supported Fisheries: Think of this as knowing the fishermen—or at least knowing someone who knows the fishermen. On the other side of the equation is usually a local who loves the idea of going to Alaska for a couple months to make some money while catching salmon for their local community back home.
  • Local Buying Clubs: This is similar to a community-supported fishery except there’s no local fisherman to buy the salmon from directly. Instead, there’s usually a point-person responsible for finding the best deals possible for the club. Some fisheries have borrowed from this idea by offering monthly subscription plans for in-season seafood.
  • Home Storage: You may not need to join a local buying club to get bulk salmon shipping prices if you have a second freezer at home and a large family with a die-hard passion for seafood. In fact, your household doesn’t even need to be that large if you can commit to eating wild salmon once a week for the next 3-6 months after getting your salmon shipped from Alaska.
  • Airport Pickup: Another way to get around the extra delivery cost of those last few miles to your front door is to make arrangements to pick up your salmon order from the cargo facility at your local airport.

Read even more about how to choose the best salmon delivery for your next seafood order.

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