Monday July 18, 2022

Yakima Herald-Republic

Record-breaking numbers of sockeye salmon have returned to southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay, and the tally is expected to climb higher in the days ahead.

As of Thursday, fishing crews caught 53.325 million fish since the beginning of the run, which far outpaces the previous record catch of 44.3 million set in 1995.

Bristol Bay sustains the largest sockeye runs in North America. Hundreds of Washington fishers hold permits allowing them, and their crews, to participate in the harvest at a time when many commercial salmon fisheries in the Northwest have been in long-term decline.

On Thursday alone, more than 1,700 drift gill net fishermen, along with beach-based fishers using set nets, caught 2.36 million sockeye, according to Alaska Department of Fish and Game statistics.

The total sockeye run, which includes salmon netted by fishing crews and those that have moved into freshwater areas en route to spawning, reached 69.76 million fish as of Thursday. This shatters a record set just last year of 67.67 million fish.

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