Fish Radio

Salmon permit values drop

October 6, 2015       Salmon fishing areas

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Salmon permit values nosedive. I’ll tell you more after this —

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The value of Alaska salmon permits has taken a nosedive directly after the fishing season.

The permit market is really unsettled right now after the season we just had. There were a few bright spots out there, but fisheries in a few areas of the state that did not do well, either because of production or price or both. So the dust really hasn’t settled here since the season ended.

Doug Bowen runs Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer.  Bristol Bay gillnet permits have taken the biggest hit after another huge sockeye run ran into a perfect storm of global currency chaos amid a glut of wild and farmed salmon on the market. Bay fishermen got a dismal price of just 50 cents a pound for their reds.

Those permit prices in the spring were as high as $175,000 and last week we sold one for $112,000. That’s a big drop in just a few short months. 

Bowen says the pattern with gillnet permits is similar elsewhere across the state.

The permit asking prices are down considerably. 

It’s the same story with salmon seine permits. Bowen says it will be interesting to see what happens at Prince William Sound, where seiners caught a record 97 million pinks, priced at just 20 cents a pound.

So great production; lousy price —  There are several permits on the market at $200K, but no interest. And at Kodiak, several seine permits are listed at under $40,000, but again, no interest yet.   

Power hand trolls are the only permits getting any interest, but even those prices are down 5 grand, says Olivia Olsen at Alaskan Quota and Permits in Petersburg.

 “It was a dismal season the way the prices were. They might be catching more fish, but prices were too low to come out ahead.   And if salmon prices stay down, guys are going to turn their interest to other areas.” 

Both brokers agree that as salmon forecasts come out for next year, buying interest is likely to tick up. But a bad fishing season means there is not a lot of excess capital floating around to upgrade or buy a new boat, or add another permit to a fishing portfolio.  Doug Bowen –

It’s still early.  We’ll see how the trends are as they develop.  Right now it’s kind of quite. Maybe too soon to tell. 


 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, celebrating 105 years of partnership with Alaska’s coastal communities.  In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.