It’s a fish trifecta for Alaska’s 2021 salmon season! The fishery produced the third highest catch, fish poundage and value on record dating back to 1975.
The preliminary harvests and values by region were released this week by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The catch of nearly 234 million salmon had a dockside value of almost $644 million, nearly 46% higher than last year. (117 fish valued at just over $295 million) and weighing in at 858.5 million pounds.
All Alaska regions saw salmon earnings double or nearly triple from last year, except for the Kuskokwim, Yukon and Kotzebue where values decreased.
At Southeast, for example, the value to fishermen topped $132 million compared to just $50 million last year.
Prince William Sound salmon at nearly $122 million was up from about $72 million in 2020.
Cook Inlet salmon values crept up to nearly $19 million, a $9 million increase.
Kodiak salmon values topped $51 million, an increase of more than $24 million.
At the Alaska Peninsula the salmon value this year topped $67 million, a nearly $51 million gain.
At Bristol Bay, the salmon value of nearly $249 million was an increase of more than $108 million from last year.
Sockeyes accounted for nearly 56% of the total value at over $361 million and 24% of the harvest.
Pinks at nearly $179 million were 28% of the value and 69% of the statewide harvest.
A total of 6,362 individual permit holders made salmon landings in 2021, a slight decrease from 2020 (6,496 permits).
Prices for all salmon increased across the board with Chinook averaging $5.82 per pound, a 75-cent increase; sockeyes averaged $1.34 compared to 76-cents last year, cohos fetched $1.45 compared to $1.17, pinks at 37-cents was a 7-cent increase and chums averaged 77-cents a pound, a 34-cent increase.
The values don’t reflect post-season adjustments or bonuses to fishermen. The final value of the 2021 salmon fishery will be determined next spring following reports from buyers.