The cumulative wild sockeye salmon harvest through the end of July in Bristol Bay, Alaska, sits at 38 million fish, surpassing the forecast of 37 million.
As anticipated, this season’s strong returns make 2023 one of the top five harvest seasons of the past 20 years – a follow-up to last year’s all-time record-breaking harvest. Bristol Bay is known as “America’s Wild Sockeye Source” and is home to the largest wild salmon run on the planet, producing half the world’s supply of wild sockeye.
“The strong harvests out of Bristol Bay in recent years are a testament to the responsible fisheries management of Alaska and the Bristol Bay fishing industry, including fishermen, biologists, local community and seafood processors, and speak to the health and thriving future of the wild sockeye in the region,” said Lilani Dunn, marketing director for the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association.
This year’s salmon fishery continues into August, with the final harvest numbers certain to inch up a bit higher.
The strong harvest means that shoppers will continue to find a large quantity of ruby-red fish throughout restaurants and grocery stores in the seafood case, freezer and shelf-stable forms. While fresh wild sockeye is available during the summer harvest season, many Bristol Bay fishermen freeze their catch as it leaves the water, reducing food waste and ensuring the highest quality final product reaches consumers’ plates.
“It takes thousands of dedicated people laboring through unfathomably long workdays, unpredictable weather, sore muscles, blistered hands, mechanical problems and more to make a harvest like this happen, year after year,” said Andy Wink, executive director of BBRSDA.
“We’re proud to be able to provide delicious wild sockeye salmon that is not only rich in nutrients, but is also guaranteed to be sustainably caught and one of the most environmentally friendly protein sources on the planet.”
Salmon is the most-consumed fish species in the United States and is increasingly a primary component of trending recipes via social media, with more than 168 million views for the term on TikTok.
For recipes, cooking tips and more visit www.bristolbaysockeye.org.