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Will Bristol Bay’s Waters Teem with Red Gold? Unveiling the 2024 Sockeye Salmon Forecast

Will Bristol Bay’s Waters Teem with Red Gold? Unveiling the 2024 Sockeye Salmon Forecast

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has released its 2024 forecast for the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run, presenting a balanced outlook with an estimated 39 million fish expected to return.

This figure aligns with the average historical data but falls 35% short of the last decade’s bumper runs.

The forecast, nestled within the 80% confidence interval of 24.89 to 53.12 million fish, suggests a cautious optimism for the fishing industry.

The predicted numbers are a testament to the department’s robust analytical methods, honed since 2001, which have consistently provided reliable estimates despite the inherent challenges of predicting nature’s course.

The anticipated return allows for a harvestable surplus of 26.11 million fish, with 25.01 million allocated to Bristol Bay and 1.10 million to the South Peninsula’s June fishery.

This potential yield is 39% below the ten-year average but still marks an 8% increase over the long-term haul.

a group of bristol bay sockeye salmon swimming against the stream

Age-specific forecasts indicate a diverse return, with age-1.2 fish making up half of the total run.

The department’s methods, which include analyzing adult escapement and return data from brood years dating back to 1972, aim to ensure that all systems meet their spawning escapement goals.

The forecast’s precision is a collaborative triumph, backed by the Bristol Bay Fisheries Collaborative’s commitment to maintaining a world-class fishery.

This partnership between the department and the Bristol Bay Science and Research Institute, along with stakeholder engagement, underscores the community’s dedication to sustainable fishing practices.

As the industry prepares for the 2024 season, the forecast serves as a guiding beacon, balancing the unpredictability of nature with the steadfastness of science.

With all systems projected to meet their goals, Bristol Bay’s waters are poised to deliver a run that supports both the ecological balance and the economic vitality of the region.

RELATED READING: Commercial Salmon Fishing in Alaska (Everything You Need to Know)

Find Out More

For more detailed information about the 2024 Bristol Bay salmon runs and harvest forecast, please visit the Alaska Department of Fish and Game/Commercial Salmon Fisheries/Bristol Bay Management Area.

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