While fish were still being caught after the report was released in early October, the majority of the 2017 salmon season was over.
ADF&G noted that despite unfavorable market conditions of a strong dollar – which made Alaska seafood significantly more expensive to foreign buyers – and an embargo due to conflict in roe markets, nearly $300 million in additional ex-vessel value went to the pockets of Alaska salmon fishermen aided by a large harvest and continued investments in quality, product development and marketing.
“Tremendous harvests occurred across Alaska, from Kotzebue to Southeast, highlighted by an all-time record statewide chum salmon harvest,” said Forrest Bowers, deputy director of the Division of Commercial Fisheries.
Bowers noted that 2017 is also the third year in a row statewide sockeye salmon harvest exceeded 50 million fish. “Record wild salmon harvests like these are a testament to Alaska’s sound, science-based management, the professionalism of ADF&G’s staff, and thoughtful stakeholder engagement,” he said.
The Bristol Bay harvest alone – with 37.7 million salmon delivered – was valued at $209.9 million.
Other fisheries also saw record salmon harvests, notably in Norton Sound, in Western Alaska, where a strong coho salmon return brought a harvest of 191,000 silvers.
These are all preliminary numbers. The final value of the 2017 salmon fishery will be determined in 2018 after seafood processors, buyers and direct marketers report the total value paid to fishermen.