Nearly all Alaska salmon permits have gone up in value since last fall and broker action is brisk.       

  “We’re as busy as we’ve ever been in the last 20 years. Boat sales are doing well and between IFQs and permit sales, we’ve got a busy year going.”

Doug Bowen runs Alaska Boats and Permits in Homer.

The permit interest is fueled by a forecast this year of over 213 million salmon, an 85 percent increase over 2018. Also, salmon prices are expected to be higher.

For the bellwether drift permit at Bristol Bay, the value has increased from around $165,000 to the   $170,000 range.

“We saw those bay permits climb up to almost $180,000 and then they sort of cooled off and dropped down into the low $170’s and that’s about where we are now.”

After several good years Area M drifts on the Alaska Peninsula have climbed –

“If you can find one now, it’s going to cost you certainly over $200,000.”

At Cook Inlet, where catches have been dismal, drift permit values bottomed out at $28,000 last fall and have climbed a bit.

“They have climbed a bit, we’re at $38,000 now which is still pretty low for Cook Inlet.”

Drift permit values at Prince William Sound is one of the few that has gone down in value at around $145,000. Seine permit values have increased a bit to $170,000.

At Kodiak, seine permits have held steady for several years in the $28,000 range.

At Chignik, where 128 sockeye salmon were caught last year, there is almost no permit interest. Chignik seine was once the most expensive permit in the state, valued at over $500,000.

Permit action in Southeast Alaska “is kind of a mix,” said Olivia Olsen at Alaskan Quota and Permits in Petersburg.

There’s less interest in power troll permits for a second year but prices “are holding at a “respectable” $27,000 to $28,000, Olsen said.

“And the permit holders have a really positive outlook for all species except kings. So they don’t understand why the price isn’t going up.”

There’s not much interest in hand troll permits, Olsen said,   unless the price tag is less than $9,000.

“I think it’s because they chase the kings more than anything.”

Southeast drift permit prices are up with expectations of good prices and lots of fish.

 “Last year they were selling for $79,000 to the low $80’s and currently prices are at $95,000. So that’s been a hot permit. They are opening new fishing areas which they feel should thin out the herd and have plenty of fish for everybody.”

Demand also is up for Southeast seine permits and the price has increased to $250,000, a boost of $25,000 since last fall, likely due to the buyback that pulled 37 permits out of the fishery.

Both brokers agreed that Alaska salmon permit holders are looking toward a good year. Olivia Olsen –

“I would say that permit holders are looking toward good salmon years.” 

 Tomorrow we’ll look at halibut IFQ values.