Everything You Should Know About Alaskan Salmon Season 2024

Everything You Should Know About Alaskan Salmon Season 2024

Despite a substantial decrease in salmon production in Alaska, last year’s harvest has allowed an abundance of fish for food and sale that continues into 2024. The market is expected to experience notable changes that seafood businesses should anticipate and prepare for.

Let’s take a deeper look at what’s causing market fluctuations, how Alaska fisheries will be able to manage swings in demand, and what the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) guide says about managing less profitable fishing seasons.

The state of the market for Alaskan salmon

Alaskan salmon is a valuable resource that provides a significant source of income for the state’s fishing industry. However, the number of fish harvested has notably fluctuated in recent years, directly impacting the revenue generated for local communities. 

In 2023, the value of all species of Alaska salmon drastically dropped despite the state’s fisheries and top seafood suppliers producing 230.2 million sockeye salmon compared to the previous year’s 167 million. Even with a 43% increase in the number of fish harvested, the industry only generated $398.6 million in revenue, down from 2022’s $720 million.

Among the various types of salmon, sockeye salmon holds the highest value, making up about 45% of the salmon market’s total value. Meanwhile, pink salmon accounts for 29%. Although harvest numbers for pink salmon dipped in 2022, it’s predicted to return to normal levels this year. Favorable oceanic conditions have played a significant role in this return. 

Despite these challenges, pink salmon provides a more affordable option for consumers, which, according to the ADF&G, could actually be a good thing. They believe that this opens up a new market for consumers, which could ultimately boost the fishing industry’s revenue. 

Looking ahead to 2024, the Alaskan fishing industry is predicting a decrease in the harvest of sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay, with only 25 million expected to be caught according to the ADF&G. This prediction excludes the escarpment to Bristol Bay’s nine water and river systems. Other regions, such as Nushagak, Egegik and Ugahik, are also set to produce less, with harvests of 12 million and 5 million respectively.

The value of frozen sockeye salmon has also faced similar fluctuations in value. However, the Alaska Department of Revenue is still waiting for the latest numbers to come in from 2023 regarding the availability of frozen seafood. From 2020 to 2021, the value of salmon declined, but then increased again in 2022.

To mitigate the impact of declining revenue, the ADF&G is actively working on consumer public relations campaigns to encourage new generations to become salmon lovers. By promoting the benefits of eating seafood and the importance of supporting local industries, they hope to raise awareness and generate more demand for salmon from Alaska.

Reasons for the market flood

For 2024, Alaskan fisheries can expect a decline in business. 

The primary reason behind this decline is the high availability of salmon on the global market, despite overall fish shortages on a worldwide scale. American fisheries are competing with other major exporters of salmon, including Russia and other European countries. 

Another reason for the market flood relates to ocean conditions, which have been surprisingly favorable and have positively impacted local marine wildlife ecosystems. There’s no guarantee, however, that such conditions will continue.

Predictions for the Alaskan salmon market

According to the ADF&G, Bristol Bay could have around 39 million sockeye salmon in 2024 (including the surrounding escarpment). However, the ADF&G has previously stated that their modeling could have an error rate of at least 15%, which means that the number of salmon could be as little as 24 million on the low end—or as much as 53 million on the high end.

Nevertheless, even with such large numbers, some industry experts are concerned about fisheries not profiting due to a decrease in product value compared to last year.

Declines in market value have been particularly apparent in the price of sockeye salmon. In 2022, 60.1 million sockeye were harvested at $1.15 per pound, compared to only 39 million in 2023, which were paid out at a price of 50 cents a pound. The 2022 harvest generated more than double the revenue compared to the 2023 harvest.

The Division of Commercial Fisheries, a department within the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, issued an advisory announcement on January 18, 2024 outlining its predictions for all types of salmon coming from Alaska. Below, we’ve summarized its conclusions. 

Region and Salmon Type

2024 Salmon Forecast

Copper River - Wild Chinook salmon


Copper River - Wild Sockeye salmon


Copper River - Gulkana Hatchery Sockeye salmon


Copper River - Total Run Sockeye salmon


Coghill Lake - Wild Sockeye salmon


Prince William Sound - Wild Pink Salmon


Prince William Sound - Wild Chum Salmon


To overcome challenges in the seafood supply chain, check out strategies that seafood distributors and importers can employ

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