Fish Radio

Bristol Bay price bombs, AK salmon fishing updates

July 22, 2015

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Bristol Bay salmon price slump and more salmon updates after this –

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No one will go on the record but word of advance prices puts prices for Bristol Bay sockeye   at the lowest levels since 2001.

Now that the late run has pushed the catch to 33 million reds, prices have taken a nose dive from the 65 cents reported pre-season. Reliable sources now peg the base price paid by major buyers in the 40 to 60 cent range.

That’s a throwback to the 42 to 51 cents paid to fishermen from 2001 through 2004, and compares to an average $1.33 per pound last year.  Of course, price adjustments will occur in coming months after more salmon sales are made.

Elsewhere – Southeast trollers wrapped up their summer Chinook fishery in just eight days and won’t get another shot in August,  due to controversies over West Coast and treaty kings.  It’s just the third time in 15 years there won’t be an August Chinook fishery for the Panhandle’s largest fishing fleet, which will switch to chums and cohos.  Pinks are taking their time showing up in big numbers in Southeast where a 58 million humpy harvest is projects.

Seiners at Prince William Sound are still slamming the pinks with a catch approaching 33 million.  Processing capacity is tapped out and fish are being hauled to Southeast and Kodiak, which is also seeing some record pink salmon catches so far.

Salmon catches at Cook Inlet are above the five year averages, for all but sockeyes.

The Alaska Peninsula was getting some good sockeye catches at 4 million so far with limits in the Southern region.

Further west:  the chum harvest in the Kuskokwim region is running well below average. The fall chum fishery began in the lower Yukon River on July 16.

At Norton Sound, the chum take is on track to be the best since 1986 when 150,000 were caught.

At Kotzebue, which last year saw one of the best chum runs ever, chum fishing opened last week but was then canceled due to a lack of salmon buyers. The fish are flown elsewhere for processing but the one buyer was backed up with fish from other regions.

In all, Alaska has projected a total   catch this year of 221 salmon. The catch so far has topped 83 million – of which 43 million are sockeyes.

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.