A recurrent problem at Bristol Bay is lack of processing capacity when the sockeye run thick. Plugged plants shut down to clear the glut of fish while angry fishermen sit on the beach with their nets drying in the breeze.
In an effort to predict these capacity crunches, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has come out with a newfangled forecast of what the daily sockeye harvest will be this year, not just the season harvest.
The department also estimates the likelihood of processing capacity being exceeded on any given day.
The analysis is based on run timing data from 1956 through 2008.
It shows a 30 to 50 percent probability of catches exceeding the bay's processing capacity on at least one day this season.
The probability is highest on July 2-3.
Typically, processors impose buying limits or suspensions on fishermen after consecutive days of outsized harvests.
I’m sure you’ll want to see more of this study. Find it here on the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association Web site.