Russia predicts one of its biggest salmon harvests ever

Total 2023 North Pacific salmon catch could top 2.2 billion pounds.

by | March 15, 2023

Filed Under Catch Updates | Salmon

2023 Russian catches likely to top one billion pounds, led by pinks

Beach seining at Kamchatka, Russia Credit: Wild Salmon Center

Russia is expected to dominate global salmon sales in 2023 with projections of one of the biggest harvests ever.

Despite bans on the purchase of Russian products by the US and many other nations due to its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, salmon from Russia will likely swamp world markets.

Preliminary forecasts for Russian salmon call for a whopping harvest this year topping one billion pounds. This would make it one of the largest forecasts on record in recent years, reported global marketer Tradex, adding that “Russia almost always harvests more than what it forecasts.”

Russian pink salmon will lead the way with an astounding 825 million pounds projected for 2023.   

As a comparison, Alaska’s total salmon harvest poundage last year topped 734 million pounds. For pinks, the total Alaska catch came in at just below 240 million pounds.

Pacific salmon industry expert Vladimir Radchenko told Tradex that if feeding conditions in the North Pacific ocean “occur to be even moderately favorable,” the pink salmon harvest in 2023 could beat the 2021 record of nearly 1.5 billion pounds.

Last year saw the second lowest global salmon harvest since 2008 totaling around 1.6 billion pounds from all North Pacific countries, including Canada, Korea, Japan, Russia, and the US.

North Pacific salmon producing countries Credit: Wild Salmon Center

However, Radchenko predicts that another one million metric ton Pacific salmon catch (2.2 billion pounds) could be in play for 2023. That’s due in part to another big sockeye forecast at Bristol Bay of 51 million fish combined with a higher production of odd-year runs of pink salmon.

Overall, Alaska salmon is a small player in the commodities market, claiming just 13 percent of the global supply.

Farmed salmon production, which outnumbers wild harvests by nearly three-to-one, is Alaska’s biggest competitor; the second is Russia.

Alaska’s total salmon harvest last year came in at nearly 161 million fish valued at close to $721 million for fishermen.

The 2023 statewide salmon forecast should be out any day. Many regional salmon forecasts are already posted at the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game’s commercial fisheries web page.

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.


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