Alaska’s salmon harvest has picked up fast thanks to surges in sockeye catches at Bristol Bay. It pushed last week’s statewide harvest of 22 million fish to double the entire catch of the eight weeks prior.
The Bristol Bay harvest dropped below two million fish per day this week for the first time since July 4th. The record hauls across the region plugged short-staffed processing lines and many fishermen were put on limits.
As of July 14, the Bristol Bay sockeye catch topped 26 million fish with lots of reds still arriving. As expected, fish prices are plummeting. Last year the base price at the Bay averaged $1.35 with extra bonuses for icing and delivery.
SeafoodSource reports that Trident posted a base price of 60 cents a pound for sockeyes at the South Peninsula. The Source said Copper River Seafoods posted a base of 80 cents on July 12, down from $1.50 earlier in the season.
Sockeye fishing improved a bit at Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands areas, but was still slow going at Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound.
Pink salmon catches were just below 5 million as of yesterday with nearly 60 percent coming from Prince William Sound and the remainder from the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutians.
The chum harvest of 2.9 million ranks among the smallest in at last 15 years, down 60 percent from the five year average.
The slow catches are hitting especially hard at Norton Sound and Southeast. This week is typically the peak for chums although strong fishing has increasingly occurred through the end of August.
Coho catches should begin trending higher and run through September.
Alaska’s total salmon catch is approaching 37 million fish. The projected total for 2020 is just over 132 million salmon.
The weekly salmon data is compiled by the McDowell Group for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.