Next year’s Bristol Bay sockeye return could number 46.5 million.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates that between 36 and 56 million sockeye will return to Bristol Bay next summer, another big year even if the total comes in at the low end. That’s a little less than the 2015 return, said Area Management Biologist Tim Sands after the forecast was released Oct. 29.

“It’s lower than last year, than the 2015 season, but it’s higher than the 10-year average,” he said.

That run would still allow for a harvest of nearly 30 million, which would be the third above-average bay harvest in a row.

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