Fish Radio                      

World's biggest sockeye salmon run Credit:

World’s biggest sockeye salmon run

July 17, 2014                                                    

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … A sockeye price at Bristol Bay, and lots of competing reds are on the way. More after this —                         

 Fish Radio is brought to you by the At-Sea Processors Association. APA fishing companies hold job fairs and support training programs to promote good paying job opportunities for Alaskans in the Alaska pollock industry. Learn more about fishing and processing jobs at

 Federal grants are available to help “Made in America” companies compete with imports and save US jobs. Learn more at


An advance sockeye price of $1.20 a pound has been posted at Bristol Bay by Alaska General Seafoods, with an extra 15 cents for chilled fish. Other processors are likely to match, according to reports from the Alaska Independent Fishermen’s Marketing Association. That compares to a base price of $1.50 a pound for Bristol Bay reds last year. The Bay catch yesterday was approaching 28 million sockeyes, 11 million more than forecasted and the fish are still coming.

 Lots of competing red salmon rivals are in the works this year. The sockeye run at the lower Columbia River’s Bonneville Dam set a record last week topping half a million fish, the most since the dam was completed in 1938.

 Russia’s sockeye salmon catches have topped 31 million early in July, and that number will go higher.

 And all eyes will be on British Columbia’s Fraser River where sockeyes are starting to show. The largest sockeye return in 100 years is expected at the Fraser this summer of up to 75 million fish. It’s a matter of wait and see if those sockeyes materialize over the next few weeks.

 Likewise, it remains to be seen how all the sockeye dynamics play out in markets this year and next. Andy Wink is a fisheries economist with the McDowell Group in Juneau —

 If we get more sockeye coming in from Russia into our more premisum markets, if we get a large Fraser River harvest and if processors aren’t able to move a lot of the product before that happens, yea, then we could see wholesale values take quite a tumble. And that’s where it gets back to the efficienty and marketing effectiveness. Will have to see how things shake out because a lot thing will happen after our season is done, but processors are going to have to pay a certain amount to assure themselves of supply in the Bay this year. Where that comes in next year will depend on what happens this fall at Fraser river.

 Back home in Alaska, the total sockeye catch as of yesterday topped 36 million and counting.

 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.