Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Processor Plans Fall Short of Bristol Bay Harvest Forecast

Processors of Bristol Bay’s famed sockeye salmon say they are prepared to purchase and process 35.5 million reds, out of a run forecast of 37.6 million fish.

Results of the survey of 14 processors in early March by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game shows that the intended purchase is 6 percent, or 2.1 million fish lower than the forecasted harvest.

The survey estimated a maximum daily harvest capacity of 2.5 million fish, which could be sustained for 21 days.

The survey also shows that the processing capacity has increased since the last survey, conducted in 2011. Much of the increased capacity was attributed to the entry of a new processor into the fishery, a processor with a capacity on par with many larger processors of Bristol Bay fish.

Many processors also indicated incremental increases in processing capacity associated with various equipment upgrades over time. Total processing capacity, as estimated from total intended purchases, from the 2015 survey of 35.5 million fish, is 9 percent greater than the 2011 estimated season capacity of 195.6 million pounds, the ADF&G survey showed. Similarly, the 2015 estimated daily processing capacity of 2.5 million salmon, or 14.5 million pounds, is 8 percent greater than the 2011 daily capacity of 2.1 million fish, or 12 million pounds.

The total intended purchases, however, still falls 6 percent sort of the harvest forecast, according to the ADF&G survey. The Bristol Bay area commercial salmon fishery includes all coastal and inland waters east of a line from Cape Newenham to Cape Menshikof, and includes the Naknek, Kvichak, Alagnak, Egegik, Ugashik, Wood, Nushagak, Igushik and Togiak river systems. The fishery is divided into five major management districts: Naknek-Kvichak, Egegik, Ugashik, Nushagak, and Togiak.

The survey estimates processing capacity for the entire Bristol Bay area and does not break down capacity by district. The complete survey is online at

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