More than 70 million sockeye salmon expected in Bristol Bay next year, potentially busting this year’s record

Anchorage Daily News

If the forecasts are close to accurate, this year’s Bristol Bay sockeye run won’t be a record for long.

Biology teams with University of Washington and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game both expect more than 70 million sockeye to return to Bristol Bay for the first time in recorded history.

Daniel Schindler, a biologist with UW’s Alaska Salmon Program, said multiple factors in the university’s record run forecast bolster its credibility. For one, all of the Bay’s nine large river systems are predicted to do very well, rather than just one or two forecasted to have outsized sockeye returns. The fact that the 2022 run will be on the heels of an inshore run of approximately 66.1 million sockeye — the all-time record — which provides researchers more to go on as well, according to Schindler.

Both the UW and Fish and Game forecasts are a weighted average of several models that use what are known as sibling relationships to formulate predictions, largely based on how many salmon of certain age classes returned in prior years.

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