Last updated on June 8th, 2023 at 05:17 pm
The anticipated annual wild sockeye salmon season in Bristol Bay, Alaska, has officially commenced and fishermen are gearing up for what is expected to be among the top five strongest in the last 20 years.
The 2023 harvest, which runs through September, has an estimated haul of about 37 million fish. This means plenty of wild sockeye salmon in restaurants and grocery stores nationwide.
In 2022, Bristol Bay had the largest wild sockeye salmon harvest on record, bringing more than 60 million fish (104 percent higher than the 20-year average). While this season is unlikely to top that, it is still anticipated to be 40 percent greater than the average annual run recorded since 1963. The flavor-packed fish is available at retailers nationwide at seafood counters or in the freezer case with many promotions running throughout the summer.
Retailers across the U.S., from national chains to regional specialty stores, are gearing up to bring fresh Bristol Bay sockeye salmon to customers this summer throughout more than 8,000 stores, coast to coast.
“We are very excited to kick off the season,” said Andy Wink, executive director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. “With the harvest projected to be similar to years past, consumers can expect wild sockeye to be widely accessible and affordable for all of their summer meals and cookouts.”
Bristol Bay, Alaska is home to the largest wild salmon run on the planet and produces half of the world’s supply of wild sockeye salmon. Its six major river systems support thousands of fishermen and millions of wild sockeye salmon. The pristine environment has been the foundation for 130 years of sustainable harvesting by generations of small boat fishermen.
In 1959, Alaska became the only state to include sustainable fishing within its constitution, meaning consumers can feel good about how it’s harvested and know that all Bristol Bay sockeye salmon is wild and sustainable.
Alaska sockeye, also known as red salmon, is one of the most popular salmon species due to its crimson color and rich flavor. The fish contains omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), which are essential for promoting heart health, suppressing inflammatory responses and improving brain function. Sockeye is also naturally high in many essential vitamins and minerals, and boasts the highest vitamin D content of any salmon species.
Wild sockeye salmon can be found fresh throughout the harvest season, as well as frozen, canned or smoked year-round. Bristol Bay fishermen often freeze the catch just after it leaves the water, locking in nutrients, maintaining quality and helping to reduce food waste.
For more information and cooking tips, visit bristolbaysockeye.org.