Epic seasaon for Bristol Bay sockeye salmon

Published on
July 21, 2017

Fishermen and processors in Bristol Bay, Alaska are celebrating one of the largest sockeye salmon runs ever recorded, with more than 35 million fish harvested and a total run estimated at 51 million salmon.

Adding to the good news for fishermen was that prices are up for sockeye are up this year, with Bristol Bay’s buyers paying a base price of USD 1.00 (EUR 0.86) per pound, up from USD 0.76 (EUR 0.65) last year. The price is the highest paid since the early 1990s, according to KDLG, a radio station based in Dillingham, Alaska, which covers the salmon run closely.

"We are really happy to see several processors posting $1/lb base price - especially considering the base price just two years ago was USD 0.50 [EUR 0.43]," Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association Executive Director Becky Martello told KDLG. “With much of the fleet now chilling and bleeding, it means that our fishermen can get upwards of USD 1.25 [EUR 1.07] per pound. That's good news for the fleet and the fishery."

Fisheries experts had predicted this year’s run in Bristol Bay to reach 41.5 million fish and a harvest total of 27.5 million sockeye, but this year’s season has blown past those numbers. Besides setting records for the largest run and catch ever, the fishery also recorded its first ever day of more than a million sockeye caught – and it happened twice.

“It's the biggest run I've had to work with,” area management biologist Paul Salomone told the radio station.

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