Alaska’s salmon worth $720 million this year

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Commercially caught coho salmon in Southeast Alaska. (Photo by Matt Lichtenstein)

It looks like Alaska’s commercial salmon industry is pulling itself out of a pandemic rut. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game released its preliminary statewide summary for the year on Thursday. The harvests for all five salmon species in all fisheries equaled $720.4 million. That’s $76.5 million more than last year and $425.2 million more than two years ago.

In 2020, the harvest total was a low of $295.2 million — one of the worst on record.

Sockeye salmon made up approximately 66% of the state’s total value this year. Most of that is due to the record-breaking Bristol Bay fishery at nearly 69.7 million fish.

Chum and pink salmon were worth nearly the same. They contributed 15 and 14 percent of the state’s total value respectively.

King salmon made up 3% of the statewide value. Even with far less fish harvested than the other species, Kings averaged over $60 per fish.

Coho salmon made up approximately two percent of the statewide value.

This year’s harvest of nearly 161 million salmon is close to the long-term average since 1985. It’s the largest even-year harvest since 2010. However, for pounds harvested, it’s a little below the average.

When the overall yearly value is adjusted for inflation, it ends up being about the 24th lowest fishery since 1975.

The state’s salmon summary is just an educated estimate. The final value of the year’s fisheries won’t be known until next year after all the fisheries are closed out — meaning that seafood processors, buyers, and direct marketers report what they paid to fishermen.

Angela Denning, CoastAlaska

Angela Denning is CoastAlaska's regional news director, based in Petersburg. CoastAlaska is our partner in Southeast Alaska. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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