Sockeye salmon at Bristol Bay                                                                                           Credit: Fish Eye Guy Photography   

Sockeye salmon accounted for 44 percent of the Alaska’s total 2018 harvest and nearly 60 percent of the value. Fishermen caught 50 million sockeyes across Alaska this year valued at $350 million at the docks.

Fewer than nine million sockeyes came from non-Bristol Bay regions where catches were the worst in more than four decades.  At Chignik, for example, 128 sockeyes were landed.

At Bristol Bay, a catch of over 41 million reds was the second largest ever.  It also was the most valuable catch for fishermen, topping $281 million. After bonuses and post season adjustments are added in, that could climb to more than $335 million, said Andy Wink, director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.

Bristol Bay is home to the largest red salmon run in the world and its fishery accounted for 57 percent of global sockeye production this year. It’s the third year in a row that the Bay has accounted for more than half of the world’s supply. Andy Wink –

“The sockeye resource is very unique in terms of its size. It’s typically around 35 to 40 percent of the global sockeye supply and it’s a huge chunk of Alaska’s salmon value overall. It’s a market moving fishery.”

Alaska Salmon Price and Production Reports for the key sales months of July and August show a first wholesale value of Bristol Bay frozen and fresh sockeye products were 36 percent higher than at the same time last year.  The average wholesale value increased from $4.01 to $4.51 per pound and sales volume was up 21 percent.

Bristol Bay fishermen averaged $1.26 a pound for their sockeyes this summer (up from last year’s base price of $1.02) making each fish worth $7 dollars. That’s 43-cents below the average of sockeyes caught elsewhere.

At Prince William Sound, sockeyes paid out at $2.71 to fishermen; Cook Inlet averaged $2.27; Kodiak fishermen got $1.56 and sockeyes averaged $1.23 a pound at the Alaska Peninsula. Fishermen in other Alaska regions averaged $1.69 for their red salmon.

Find links here to the Bristol Bay Fall 2018 Sockeye Market Report