It's pretty clear now that this season's catch of Bristol Bay sockeye won't reach the state forecast of 30.5 million fish.
But a strong price can make up for lost fish. And from what I'm hearing, this could be one of the most lucrative hauls in many years.
Through the weekend, the harvest tally was 27.2 million sockeye.
Catch rates are dropping fast now, with lots of fishermen pulling their boats from the water and heading home. Traditionally, it's right around this time that processors post their base prices for fish.
Deckboss hears reliably that one processor is paying 96 cents a pound.
That's a leap from the 70 cents the major packers paid in 2009.
The average Bristol Bay sockeye weighs around six pounds, so take that times 27.2 million fish and then multiply the result by 96 cents and you get a total fishery value of about $157 million.
That's the highest level in 15 years.
So, what's propelling the higher prices?
A couple of probable factors: Lower output of farmed salmon from Chile due to a virus outbreak and February's earthquake, and the collapse of the Fraser River sockeye run in British Columbia.
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