Demand for red salmon pushes prices to record highs

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Alaska’s total 2021 sockeye catch was 57 million fish, with a preliminary value topping $361 million.

Strong global and US demand for wild red salmon has pushed prices to near record highs.

Silver Bay and Peter Pan Seafoods a few weeks ago increased their base prices to fishermen to $1.45 per pound, a 20-cent increase from the summer, and other Alaska companies are likely to follow suit. That compares to a final price in 2020 of just $1.06.

“Obviously, the base price is announced earlier in the season. Now that we can see where sales are going and really have a confident look, we’re excited to celebrate that with our fleet,” Abby Frederick, a spokesperson for Silver Bay, told KDLG public radio.

In December, the US government announced plans for the administration to purchase 7.3 million cans of red salmon as part of its “Build Back Better” program, which aims to address food supply chain bottlenecks.

The salmon will be used for the agency’s National School Lunch program and Federal Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs across the United States.

Alaska’s total 2021 sockeye catch was 57 million fish, with a preliminary value topping $361 million, according to Anchorage Daily News.

Most of Alaska’s fish goes to market frozen, headed and gutted, and strong demand by global buyers pushed wholesale prices for Bristol Bay red salmon this summer to $4.37 a pound, up $1.07 from last summer. Red salmon fillets were wholesaling at $6.61 a pound and averaging $12.94 at retail counters this fall, up nearly a dollar from a year ago.

The run is projected to be even bigger in 2022 and could mean a catch of 60 million fish.

Read more: With 75 million salmon expected, Bristol Bay harvest is predicted to be the largest in recorded history