State fisheries biologists in Alaska are forecasting a run of 51.06 million sockeye salmon into Bristol Bay in the summer of 2021, allowing for a potential harvest of 36.35 million fish in Bristol Bay, plus 1.02 million fish in the South Peninsula fisheries. A harvest of this size in Bristol Bay would be 13 percent greater than the most recent 10-year harvest average of 32.23 million fish, and 40 percent greater than the long-term average harvest (from 1963 to present) of 21.88 million fish.
The run forecast by district and river system includes: 17.35 million to the Naknek-Kvichak District (6.37 million to the Kvichak River, 3.75 million to the Alagnak River, and 7.23 million to the Naknek River); 11.18 million to the Egegik District; 6.66 million to the Ugashik District; 15.06 million to the Nushagak District (7.94 million to the Wood River, 5.76 million to the Nushagak River, and 1.35 million to the Igushik River); and 0.82 million to the Togiak District.
The sockeye salmon run into Bristol Bay – the largest such sockeye run in the world- has averaged 35.12 million fish from 1963 through 2020 and averaged 48.12 million fish in the most recent 10-year period.
In 2020, by comparison, preliminary data compiled by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game showed the inshore Bristol Bay sockeye run of 58.2 million fish, the fifth largest total run and 46 percent above the 40 million average run for the last 20-year time period. It was the sixth consecutive year that the Bristol Bay inshore sockeye salmon run exceeded 50 million fish.
Preliminary data showed that the ex-vessel value of the Bristol Bay salmon catch was $140.7 million for all salmon species, ranking ninth for the last 20 years and 5 percent below the 20-year average of $147.8 million. Prices are an average of postseason processor final operations reports and do not include future price adjustments for icing, bleeding or production bonuses.
ADF&G also thanked the Bristol Bay Fisheries Collaborative for its assistance in providing $600,000 to help fund management of the fishery in 2020. The collaborative, an agreement between ADF&G and the Bristol Bay Science and Research Institute, is supported by Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, setnet, fishermen, processors, municipalities, villages, support industries and other stakeholders.