Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 29, 2022
How this record run compares to past years
We’ve been talking about it all summer - Bristol Bay has another record salmon run for the 2022 season. Not only that, but we’ve also had a record for the largest harvest of all time as well - at over 58 million fish to date. KDLG’s Brian Venua has been tracking the numbers closely, and we sat down to talk about how this year compares to the fishery’s historic numbers.
Chignik's sockeye run is the highest it's been in years. Some point to a compromise with Area M as a factor
The sockeye runs to the Chignik River are at their highest escapement in at least nine years. This is welcome news after four years of extremely low returns. As KDLG’s Brian Venua reports, Chignik officials think that might have something to do with recent management changes to Area M’s commercial fishery.
Fish, friends and fun at the 40th annual Fishtival
The 40th annual Bristol Bay Fishtival celebration in Naknek brought together fisherfolk, residents and visitors for a weekend of food, music, arts and many other traditions. KDLG’s Corinne Smith was at Fishtival, and says there was palpable excitement at the arrival of a historic wooden sailboat, which took a 300-mile journey from Homer to Naknek, harkening back to the history of sailboat fleets in Bristol Bay.
How the state's limited entry has affected local participation in Bristol Bay's fishery
More than 75 million sockeye returned to Bristol Bay this summer. It's the largest run on record. And it's great news for the commercial fishery.
But as KDLG's Izzy Ross reports, it's also reigniting conversations about big disparities in who gets to fish, and how the state’s limited entry permit system has affected local communities.
Goodbye from the KDLG Fish Report crew
KDLG fish reporters Brian Venua and Corinne Smith, and news director Izzy Ross took a few minutes to reflect on the season and producing this daily radio show serving the Bristol Bay fishing community.
The numbers as of July 21
Baywide the total harvest was 58.2 million fish – the highest on record.
Across our nine rivers, 18.2 million sockeye escaped past the counting towers and the Nushagak sonar.
Bristol Bay’s total run is 76.5 million fish.
The Nushagak District’s fleet harvested 22.7 million fish this summer. That’s the second-highest harvest on record, only coming short of the 2018 haul.
Total escapement in the district is 7.4 million.
Let’s break that down by river.
The Nushagak River had 44,183 Chinook and 101,876 chum past the sonar. Both of those runs are below the lower boundary of the escapement goals for those species, however 3.4 million sockeye were counted, almost 4 times the upper boundary of the escapement goal for that species.
The Wood River 3.7 million spawners this year, over double the upper escapement goal for that river.
The Igushik saw a total count of 297,154 salmon.
Total harvest in Togiak as of last week was 281,999, however that fishery is still running. The total escapement there is at 54,930.
Togiak’s total run is 334,607 fish.
The Naknek-Kvichak had a season with 14.1 million sockeye caught this year. Total escapement for the district there is 7.6 million, and the district’s total run is at 21.7 million fish.
And to break it down by river,
The Naknek River had 1.9 million sockeye come through the river there.
The Kvichak saw 4.1 million spawners come through.
The Alagnak counting tower saw 1.5 million fish this season.
Egegik’s fleet caught 15.3 million fish this season. That’s the third-largest harvest on record. 1.7 million escaped past fishing nets and Egegik’s total run is at 17.1 million – now the district’s third-largest run on record.
Ugashik fishermen caught 5.8 million fish this year and Ugashik’s harvest is now the third-largest on record. District escapement has a cumulative count of 1.3 million sockeye and Ugashik’s total run is now 7.1 million. That’s the fifth-largest run on record.
The Chignik River Weir is still running and so far 645,606 sockeye have been counted. 423,643 were part of the Early Run and 221,963 were part of the late run there.
For other species, 626 Chinook, 133 pinks, and 48 chum were counted in the weir.
Area M has also continued fishing since our last numbers update, so far 10.3 million salmon have been caught between the five species. That breaks down to 7.8 million sockeye, 1.8 million pinks, 698,105 chum, 17,843 silvers, and 11,084 Chinook.
To get in touch, send us an email at email@example.com. Good night, good fishing, see you back here next year.