2020 Alaska Salmon Harvest, Prices Dropped Significantly

Preliminary harvest and value figures for the 2020 Alaska commercial salmon fishery show that both the harvest and value of that harvest were down significantly in 2020 over the previous year’s harvest and values.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists said this week that the commercial salmon fishery all species harvest was worth approximately $295.2 million, a 56 percent decrease over the 2019 harvest, which was valued at $673.4 million. Harvesters delivered 116.8 million fish, a 44 percent decrease from the previous year’s harvest of 208.3 million salmon.

Sockeyes accounted for approximately 59 percent of the total value of all salmon, being worth $174.9 million and 40 percent of the harvest, at 46.1 million fish. Humpies accounted for about 21 percent of the value of the harvest at $61.8 million, and 51 percent of the harvest, at 59.4 million fish. The 8.7 million chum salmon caught accounted to 9 percent of the value at $25.9 million and 7 percent of the overall harvest. The harvest of Chinook salmon, estimated at nearly 260,000 fish, had an estimated preliminary ex-vessel value of $14.3 million. A total of 6,461 permit holders participated I the fishery and made commercial salmon landings this year, down 11 percent from 7,256 permit holders in 2019. Some chose not to participate in the 2020 harvest because of health concerns and added costs of operating in compliance with mandates put in place by the Alaska government because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The mandates included quarantining and testing requirements, the required harvesters to take other health and safety precautions to prevent the spread of the virus in coastal communities in Alaska, all of which added to the cost of fishing this year. Some older harvesters considered more vulnerable because of their age, also opted not to participate this year.

An updated final season summary will be completed after fish tickets are processed and finalized. Dollar values provided by ADF&G are based on estimated ex-vessel prices and do not include post-season price adjustments. Final values for the 2020 salmon fishery will be determined in 2021 once seafood processors, buyers and direct marketers report the total value paid to harvesters in 2020.

According to Forrest Bowers, administrative operations manager at ADF&G, gross earnings won’t be available until later in the spring, and at that time the gross earnings figures will be updated, at https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=commercialbyfisherysalmon.salmoncatch.