After a Difficult Year, Alaska’s Salmon Industry is Back

In 2020, the price per pound for Bristol Bay, Alaska, sockeye salmon dropped to some of the lowest prices fishermen have seen in several years. The famed fishery, like most industries, wasn’t insulated from complications brought on by COVID-19.

Large fish processing companies struggled to operate at full capacity last year. Roughly a dozen major fish processors operate out of Naknek, Alaska. More than a dozen others operate out of six more small, roadless and remote communities in the Bristol Bay region.

Each summer, these companies hire thousands of workers from all over the world, but in 2020 they were hamstrung by quarantine and travel restrictions. The processors simply didn’t have enough people to cut, package and ship fish worldwide, so they bought less. In turn, fishers harvested fewer salmon.

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