Fish Radio

Permit values plummet for Alaska salmon

March 11, 2016



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

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Fire sale salmon prices last year and a dim outlook ahead have pushed down the value of fishing permits.

A lot of people had disastrous salmon seasons last year, whether it was drift gillnet, permits or seine permits have all declined across the board fairly dramatically.

Doug Bowen runs Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer. At Alaska’s bellwether fishery at Bristol Bay drift gillnet permits have dropped into the $90,000 range down from $175,000 last spring.

And that may have been the bottom, they seem to have come up a bit – firming up at around $97-$98,000 is where they are today.  

There is little interest in Bay drift permits.   Likewise for salmon seines.

We just don’t see much interest in any salmon seine permits anywhere in the state.

Seine permits at Prince William Sound are priced in the $150,000 range, down from over $200,000 a year ago. The fact that it’s an off year for pinks isn’t helping any there. Kodiak seine cards have sunk into the mid $30s. Cook Inlet drifts are in the $60,000 range.   Bowen doesn’t expect the tide to turn anytime soon.

I’m afraid that a lot of the same factors that contributed to the low prices we saw last year are pretty much the same this year. So it’s not an optimistic outlook for salmon species and that is depressing the market for permits, and also the boats.     We’re seeing a lot of folks listing their boats for sale, lots on the market, lots of sellers, not that many buyers.  

Things are slightly better in Southeast Alaska, where there is quite a bit of interest in salmon drift permits.

 More than I thought we’d have compared to all the other salmon areas.  

Olivia Olsen runs Alaskan Quota and Permits at Petersburg.

Now they are going for $85 and they may creep up from there, it’s hard to say. We’re selling more than we thought we would. Same with power troll permits. They’ve been pretty steady sales at about $35,000 which is down about $6,000 from last year but still a pretty good price, I think, when you listen to all the talk about salmon prices.  

Both brokers say permit prices tend to tick upwards the closer it gets to salmon season. Doug Bowen –

It looks like the permit prices have bottomed out and starting to slowly inch upwards as we get closer to the season. I think the main issue is what we are going to see for prices. 

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.  Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.      In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.