Average salmon prices reflected ups and downs
Alaska’s 2022 statewide salmon harvest came in almost exactly as predicted and while the catch was down 31% from the previous year, the dock side value increased by nearly 12% to $720.4 million.
A preliminary wrap up of the 2022 season by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game shows that the all-species harvest was 160.7 million fish. The decrease was pegged to a relatively low pink salmon run, a consistent trend for even-numbered years over the last decade.
Sockeyes rocked the season, accounting for 47% of the total harvest at a whopping 74.8 million fish and fully two-thirds of the value at $473.8 million. Both the sockeye catch and value were all time records.
Pink salmon made up 43% of the total harvest at just over 69 million humpies and 14% of the value at $102.2 million.
Chum salmon contributed approximately 9% of the harvest at 14.9 million fish and 15% of the value at $110.6 million.
For coho salmon, a catch of 1.6 million was just 1% of the statewide take and 2% of the value at $15 million fish.
The Chinook salmon harvest is estimated at just under 310,000 fish with a dockside of $18.8 million.
A total of 6,126 salmon permit holders made landings in 2022, a decrease if 236 permits fished in 2021.
Catches and values by Alaska region
The values of the 2022 salmon catch to Alaska fishermen were a mix of ups and downs. At places where catches were down, higher salmon prices increased the values.
At Southeast, the total catch of nearly 30 million salmon was valued at just over $144 million, compared to a catch topping 58 million valued at nearly $133 million in 2021.
Prince William Sound’s salmon catch of just over 33 million fish, nearly all pinks, rang in at nearly $98 million. That’s down from a catch of more than 70.5 million fish valued at about $122 million the previous year.
The value and catches at Cook Inlet also dropped. The harvest of just over 2 million fish topped $16 million. That compares to nearly 4 million salmon caught in 2021 with a dockside value of nearly $19 million.
Kodiak also took a big hit in terms of both catches and value. Fishermen this year caught about 18.5 million salmon valued at just over $41.4 million. Last year Kodiak fishermen harvested more than 30 million salmon and pocketed more than $51 million.
Chignik harvesters saw a decrease in salmon takes but an uptick in value. The catch this year came in at just under 1.5 million, mostly pinks, with a value of nearly $3.7 million. In 2021, Chignik salmon landings topped 1.56 million with a value close to $2.5 million to fishermen.
Likewise, at the Alaska Peninsula, nearly 14.8 million salmon were caught with a value topping $63 million. In 2021, fishermen caught nearly 27 million fish valued at $67.4 million.
No salmon were caught this year by commercial fishermen at the Yukon and Kuskokwim regions.
At Norton Sound, just over 130-thousand salmon were landed this year with a value close to $466,000. That compares to a catch last year of nearly 304-thousand fish valued at
Kotzebue saw the biggest increases in both salmon catches and values. Fishermen there caught nearly 476-thousand salmon with a dockside value topping $2.1 million. In 2021, the salmon harvest at Kotzebue of just under 97,000 salmon had a value that barely topped $332,000.
Ups and downs for salmon prices
Average salmon prices to Alaska fishermen also showed ups and downs compared to the 2021 season.
On the downside this year were the price for sockeyes which averaged $1.25 per pound compared to $1.34 in 2021. The Chinook salmon price also dropped to $5.58 compared to $5.82 last year.
The average price for pinks, cohos and chums all showed increases.
Pink salmon averaged $.43 per pound, an increase from $.37 in 2021. Chums jumped to $1.08 compared to $.77. Coho salmon averaged $1.57 per pound compared to $1.45 last year.
ADF&G notes that the numbers for harvests and values are preliminary and don’t include post-season price adjustments. The final value of this year’s salmon fishery will be determined next spring after seafood processors, buyers, and marketers report total values paid to fishermen in 2022.