alaska bear with salmon

Alaska Salmon Bounty Breaking Half A Record Again This Year

The Alaska salmon catch last year was an all time high at 272 million fish.

This year Alaska is on a trajectory for another record salmon catch, albeit at 135 million fish about half of last years total, still this is close to double the pre-salmon-miracle five-year average.

Official salmon boffins are again at a loss to explain this salmon bounty. The only explanation offered is ” unexplained ocean conditions of abundant ocean pastures and plankton.” We think a better comment for the boffins is, “who brought the fish back.”

sitka news salmon story

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In 2013 the 272 million Alaska salmon catch which is always mostly Pink salmon included 226 million Pinks as opposed to the 52 million forecast for the odd year big Pink return.

Preliminary harvest values released Oct. 10, 2013 by the state agency showed that at $691.1 million, the value of the 2013 state harvest is only exceeded by the 1988 harvest value of $724 million. Recent average salmon catches have been consistently down around $230 million.

This year, 2014, fishermen have already landed more than 125 million salmon. Included so far are 72.5 million pinks, 41.7 million sockeye, 2.1 million coho, 8.4 million chums and 413,000 kings, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s bluesheet report as of Aug. 13.

The estimated value of this years catch is expected to be more than $350 million. The half of last years bountiful value this year won’t impact fishermen so badly as it is still 150% of the average year and after last year just about every commercial fisherman in Alaska already has a new pick-up truck.

The 2014 total commercial salmon catch (all species) projection was for 132.6 million.  It was forecast to include 79,000 Chinook salmon in areas outside Southeast Alaska and Bristol Bay, 33.6 million sockeye, 4.4 million coho, 74.7 million pink, and 19.9 million chum salmon.

Pink salmon catches this year are now in excess of 72 million fish, about a third of last years 226 million Pink miracle but well in excess of the 25 million of a typical low Pink year. Take into account as well the fact that many fishermen decided this year to forego fishing Pinks having cashed in big on the record catch of more than 41 million Sockeye and the fact that last years Pink salmon inventory has seen fish packers freezers and warehouses overflowing with 2013 Pink salmon inventories driving prices to the fishermen down.

Pacific gyres

In 2012 my Ocean Pastures group restored a large pasture in the Gulf of Alaska by replenishing natural mineral dust. That vital dust has gone missing due to high CO2 levels. Replenishing it brings the plankton and fish back to historic abundance right away. The enhanced marine life takes over the job of sustaining the restored pasture and keeps its productivity high for many years.

There is no mystery behind these record salmon catches. The simple fact is that the most vital ocean salmon pasture was restored and revived and the fish instead of mostly starving at sea came back in super abundance.

A revived ocean pasture is like a revived vegetable garden. The first year following a big restoration effort the revived garden gives back a great harvest, but each year for a number of years there after it continues to produce better yields though dwindling over time. Then it’s time to work on the ocean pasture again.

Who brought the fish back?

Read about the world’s first commercial-scale ocean pasture restoration and how it brought the salmon back and can return fish to historic abundance around the world.

Help restore natural ocean fish abundances and put billions of additional fish on the plates of hungry people everywhere. Write your elected representative and demand that we begin to take responsibility for ocean pastures.