University of Washington Fisheries Research Institute issues preliminary preseason Bristol Bay forecast

In advance of its standard preseason forecast for the 2024 Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run, the University of Washington Fisheries Research Institute (UW-FRI) has released a preliminary preseason forecast that puts the run size at 38.9 million sockeye salmon, with a projected harvest of 26.4 million fish, or 145.1 million pounds.

The preliminary preseason forecast suggests that 63% of the total 2024 Bristol Bay run will be 2-ocean sockeye and 37% 3-ocean fish.

The standard UW-FRI preseason forecast, to be released in November, will include 2024 abundance estimates by age class for all rivers in Bristol Bay, plus the anticipated 2024 harvest in numbers and pounds.

The preliminary preseason forecast is 32% below the 2013-2022 (10-year) average of 57.2 million sockeye, and 19% below the 2003-2022 (20-year) average of 48.1 million.

The projected 2024 preliminary preseason forecast for Bristol Bay sockeyes assumes a harvest of 1 million Bristol Bay sockeyes in the South Peninsula commercial fishery and projected escapement of 11.5 million sockeyes. Projected weight-at-age for 2- and 3-ocean sockeyes is based on the average relationship between run size and weight at age. 

The projected harvest in millions of pounds is the projected harvest by ocean age, multiplied by the projected weight by age. The projected average weight of sockeyes in 2024 is 5.5 pounds.