Sockeye forecast adds concern to Board of Fisheries process

adfg-logoUpper Cook Inlet salmon fishery stakeholders should be concerned with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s 2017 sockeye forecast for many reasons — not the least of which is that the predicted low harvest will inject even more economic and allocation concerns into the debate when the Board of Fisheries meets in February. This past week, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported that Fish and Game is forecasting a return of 4 million sockeye salmon, with an expected commercial harvest of 1.7 million — about 1.2 million fish less than the 20-year average harvest. Based on 2016 prices, a harvest of 1.7 million sockeye would be worth $10.4 million to Upper Cook Inlet commercial fishermen, which is roughly half the value of this year’s harvest of 2.4 million fish. For the fish board, which sets fishery regulations, seeing a low sockeye forecast ahead of an Upper Cook Inlet meeting is akin to the economy taking a dive right before a presidential election. Each side will have its own theory as to who or what has caused the decline — and that certainly will color the debate at the Board of Fisheries meeting. Read the rest here 09:39