This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini– Salmon prices are tough to track. I’ll tell you why after this –

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Call salmon buyers around the state for fish prices and you’ll get widely different responses – if any at all. Prices paid to Alaska salmon fishermen depend on the region, the types of fishing gear and markets. Prices also reflect bonuses for iced fish, dock deliveries and other agreements between a buyer and seller.  But finding any information during the fishing season is a challenge –

Cut: So now you are kind of in the dark — you have to call around and talk to fishermen; sometimes our biologists know what the prices are, sometimes there are prices on fish tickets and lot of times there are not.

Geron Bruce is assistant director of the state commercial fisheries division.

Cut: And the prices are also in flux. Until the fish are actually sold at the wholesale level, you really don’t know what the price is going to be. So there’s a lot of uncertainty, and just a lack of information. 2

Some local salmon managers will list in season base prices on fish tickets; but most don’t.

Cut: In season information about prices may not be very accurate even if it’s showing up someplace. That’s one of the reasons some staff don’t like to deal with it because they know it’s not accurate, and there is no way they can actually arrive at an accurate figure. So they don’t want to be putting out information that they don’t feel they can be certain about, so they don’t do it. 06

Bruce says tracking salmon prices is not an ADF&G priority –

Cut: There are no critical decisions that are being made by the agency in which inseason fish prices are an important piece of the information. 08

Still, he agrees not being able to pencil in a bottom line makes it tough to run a fishing business –

Alaska salmon managers are projecting a total statewide catch this year of nearly 180  million fish, nearly 30 percent higher than last year’s harvest .   Market conditions appear favorable, especially for sockeye salmon.  A lower sockeye harvest of under 35 million is predicted and there is lots of demand for reds.  There is also a   strong canned salmon market with low inventories, and increasing value for frozen pinks  Wild salmon tends to follow the price trends for farmed salmon, which are strengthening.

Find links for these stories and more at   – a one stop shop for Alaska fish news.

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 Stephanie Mangini.