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Lady America fishing vessel. (Photo: Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association)

'Historical' sockeye salmon season closes in Bristol Bay

  (UNITED STATES, 7/29/2015)

The 2015 sockeye season that has just concluded in the Bristol Bay has been deemed as historic. This year, 51 million sockeye salmon have returned to the bay, of which as of 26 July 35 million have been caught, informed the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.

The peak of the season, for which the return of 54 million sockeye salmon had been forecast, took place ten days later than usual.

"The season started slow and there was a lot of nervousness on the water, but, as always, the salmon came swimming home on their own schedule. And when they finally did show up, they came by the tens of millions!" stressed Jason McKinley, Bristol Bay fisherman and owner of Caught Wild Salmon.

This year’s huge return is good news for chefs and for seafood buyers who source Bristol Bay sockeye.

Thanks to a growing interest in sustainable seafood, and knowing where food comes from, consumers around the country can now purchase Bristol Bay sockeye directly from fishermen through Community Supported Fisheries, farmers markets, and buying clubs.

Sources consulted by FIS.com reported that Bristol Bay’s sockeye run has not only blasted through a record-setting late finish, but bumped Alaska’s statewide red salmon harvest near the sizable 2014 total in doing so.

However, salmon abundance also affects market prices. According to members of the sector, sockeye prices in the Bay are considered to be at a low not seen since 2001, when farmed salmon began flooding markets, between USD 0.40 and USD 0.60 per pound depending on the processing facility.

According to a report from McDowell Group, a Juneau-based research firm, to equal the total harvest value for Bristol Bay’s 2014 season, fishermen will have to bring in an average price of USD 0.93 per pound if they manage to catch and process the entire forecast amount of sockeye.


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