Salmon mural in Dillingham by Arpayo Moore

Preliminary salmon forecasts indicate poor to average runs for most Alaska regions this year. The big exception once again is at Bristol Bay where another massive run of more than 51 million sockeyes are expected to return. That would produce a harvest of more than 36 million reds to fishermen.

Those fish and all of Alaska’s wild salmon compete in a tough global market, notably from Russia, and this year will be no exception.  According to global seafood trading company Tradex, Pacific salmon catches from Russia are projected to top one billion pounds in 2020. As a cmparision, last year’s Alaska catch of nearly 117 million salmon weighed in at just over half a million pounds pounds.  (517,543,738/lbs)

The Russian catch breaks down to more than 700 million pounds of pinks, nearly 206 million pounds of chum salmon, 70.6 million pounds of sockeyes, over 24 million pounds of coho salmon and 8.8 million pounds of Chinook

Catches for Alaska’s other wild salmon competitor, British Columbia, are again expected to be a bust. Tradex’s Tasha Cadence gives an overview–

“The 2020 Salmon season was regarded as one of the worst on record as BC Salmon experienced some of the lowest runs in Canadian history with a preliminary harvest total of about 2.5 million fish. Although the harvest of Pink Salmon saw a bump up from previous season; Sockeye, Chum, Coho, and Chinook all continued to see poor harvest.  Preliminary forecasts for the 2021 season from Fisheries and Oceans Canada are to continue to expect low Salmon returns as low or similar to that of 2020.”

Seafood Auction

For sockeye salmon, Cadence says the market continues to be strong.

“Our pulse on the current Sockeye market is that it continues to be a popular and a sought after product.

We are seeing small quantities being released, however they are the bits and pieces of larger lots.
Prices are high but remain steady and we should expect pricing to remain this way until the 2021 Salmon Fisheries in Alaska and Russia start up. Our recommendation is to purchase enough for your future requirements if you want to continue to have a Salmon Program.”