Alaska’s commercial salmon fishery in 2022, valued at $76.5 million more than last year

Ocean fishing boat set up the net for salmon in Alaska bay. Photo: Adobe Stock.
Ocean fishing boat set up the net for salmon in Alaska bay. Photo: Adobe Stock.

The harvest of all species in the 2022 Alaska commercial salmon fishery was valued at approximately $720.4 million. This is an increase of 11.80% and $76.5 million over the 2021 fishery value of $643.9 million. The result was achieved even though catches were 31% less. In 2022, 160.7 million fish were caught, compared to the 233.8 million caught last year.

"This decrease is explained by relatively low pink salmon run size in 2022, a consistent trend for even-numbered years over the last decade", explains the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) in their release of the 2022 salmon harvest summary. However, they also report that this year the number of individual permit holders making commercial salmon landings was slightly lower than in 2021 (6,126 in 2022 versus 6,362 permits last year).

Of that total of $720.4 million, sockeye salmon accounted for approximately 66% of the total value ($473.8 million) and 47% of the catch (74.8 million fish). Pink salmon comprised 14% of the value ($102.2 million) and 43% of the catch (69.1 million fish). Chum salmon contributed 15% of the value ($110.6 million) and approximately 9% of the catch (14.9 million fish). Coho salmon made up approximately 2% of the value ($15.0 million) and 1% of the catch (1.6 million fish). And, finally, Chinook salmon harvest is estimated to have had a preliminary value of $18.8 million, with just under 310,000 fish. The 2022 ex-fishery value estimate is the twenty-fourth lowest ex-vessel value reported since 1975.

The 2022 commercial salmon harvest for all species is close to the long-term average (160.7 vs. 167 million fish) and is the largest even-year harvest since 2010. In terms of pounds harvested, this year's harvest was 734.2 million pounds, slightly below the long-term average (762 million pounds), and is the third highest even-year volume in the new millennium. The statewide sockeye salmon harvest of 74.8 million fish this year is the largest ever recorded due to significant harvests in the Bristol Bay area. In fact, the record harvest numbers of 2022 make next year's forecast look negative with a drop of almost 36% expected.

As said, these are preliminary harvest and value estimates provided by ADF&G that will change as fish tickets are processed and finalized. The final value of the 2022 salmon fishery will be determined in 2023 after seafood processors, buyers and direct marketers report the total value paid to fishermen in 2022.

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