New pack red salmon negotiations have hit stalemate, in spite of the need to finalise pre-Christmas promotional activity. Now that the dust has settled, it is evident that the Alaskan canneries have a major task on their hands to clear the large inventory of 213g, which resulted from all packers cutting back on packing 418g cans. Slack demand from the Japanese frozen market caused a panic move to get as much fish processed as possible, even though the actual Bristol Bay run was down on last year. Devaluation of sterling against the US dollar by 15% since last summer is giving importers serious problems. "We cannot get our friends in Seattle to understand our predicament," was the comment of one importer. "We need red talls to retail below £2 a can and halves must be under £1.50. But at the moment, we cannot achieve these prices to give retailers their margin expectations." Sales of pinks are likely be hit hard by the short pack, as prices will be at least 50% up on last season. Efforts to increase consumer demand have centred on considerable price promotional deals, but these will end and some retailers question their viability at new season's asking price. {{PROVISIONS }}