Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run may drop in 2016
After two wild seasons of higher-than-usual sockeye salmon runs, it seems fishers in Bristol Bay might see some semblance of life returning to normal next year, according to the latest predictions from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The department has released its 2016 forecast for Bristol Bay sockeye salmon, which predicts a total run of 46.55 million fish, with an expected harvest of 29.52 million caught.
For 2015, according to the department, the run totaled more than 58 million fish, with a harvest of 35.67 million caught. If the 2016 predictions hold, that means the harvest next year will be smaller by more than 17 percent.
The 2015 harvest was, according to the department, 53 percent higher than the recent 20-year average, so a drop of 17 percent may still make for a higher than usual harvest, but if the department’s estimates turn out to be accurate it will mark a significant drop compared to the past two years. The department’s predictions have been known to be wrong, but on average the forecasts have been very close to the actual numbers.