The 2022 sockeye salmon harvest from Bristol Bay broke all records, a flood of fish that far surpassed the last record season in 1995.
“There’s been a lot of good years, but nothing like 2022,” said Andy Wink, executive director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, said at the Washington Maritime Economic Forecast Breakfast session Friday at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle.
The run of 79 million fish was 8 percent higher than the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s pre-season forecast of 73.4 million fish. Landings tallied at 60.1 million fish, for an ex-vessel base price of $1.15, according to the Bristol Bay Fishermen’s Association final report.
“It was amazing they got all of it, from harvest to processing,” Wink told National Fisherman. “There was some investment (by fishermen and processors) in getting ready” for the forecasted season, he said.
The world’s most valuable wild salmon fishery had its best year ever, but might be hard-pressed to consistently handle more than 60 million pounds yard after year, said Wink.
Seattle restaurants are doing their bit to help. “Salmon Week” in city restaurants is running Nov. 14 through Nov. 20 with 35 establishments participating.
“They’re really helping us move this huge pack we had come out this year,” said Wink.
The 2023 Bristol Bay season is not forecasted to be such a heavy lift. Biologists are forecasting a return of 51 million fish, and a harvest of 37 million sockeye, about equal to the 10-year average, said, Wink.