Alaska fisheries biologists are predicting a run of 75.27 million sockeye salmon returning to Bristol Bay in 2022, with a potential harvestable surplus of 61.82 million fish.
That would be a run, with a range of 61.01-89.54 million fish, that’s 44% larger than the most recent 10-year average of Bristol Bay total runs. It would also be 111% greater than the long-term (1963-2021) average of 35,73 million fish, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates in a forecast released Nov. 16.
The overall forecast includes 59.94 million fish in Bristol Bay and 1.88 million fish in South Alaska Peninsula fisheries.
A Bristol Bay harvest of this size would be 75% greater than the most recent 10-year average harvest of 34.24 million, which has ranged from 15.38 million to 42.94 million, and 170% greater than the long-term average harvest of 22.22 million fish, for the years 1963 through 2021, data show.
Age-specific forecasts for the 2022 run consists of 30.68 million age-1.2 fish (41% of the total run), 6.39 million age-2.2 fish (8% of the total run), 35.58 million age-1.3 fish (47% of the total run), and 2.58 million age-2.3 fish (3% of the total run).
Along with the forecast, Fish & Game extended thanks to the Bristol Bay Fisheries Collaborative for helping to fund fisheries assessments for the past few years during a time of the department’s budget shortfalls. Without their support, ADF&G said, assessment projects integral to the construction of brood tables and in turn this forecast could have been lost.
The collaborative began in 2016 as an agreement between the department and Bristol Bay Science and Research Institute to work together with stakeholders to restore the world-class fishery management system and raise funds to support and maintain management.