The world's biggest sockeye salmon fishery keeps getting bigger. The red run next year at Bristol Bay is projected at 51.3 million fish. That would produce another whopping catch approaching 40 million, 18 percent higher than the 10-year average and 41 percent more than the long-term mean.
Last year's Browse around this site sockeye run to the Bay was in the all-time top five, with record surges to several rivers, especially on the west side. And more of the same is predicted.
Area manager Tim Sands said he believes recent warmer winters are providing better conditions for baby salmon.
"Early ice-out, late ice-in … having extra growing time in those higher, upper lakes made those fish healthier, bigger, and more competitive when they got to the ocean," Sands told KDLG in Dillingham.
Biologists admit that predicting Bristol Bay sockeye runs is a tricky science. This past summer, for example, 42 percent more fish returned than projected, yielding a 37 percent higher catch.
Using salmon data from nine river systems in five districts, Bristol Bay managers have had a mean error of 14 percent in harvest forecasts since 2001.
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