Bristol Bay drift permits drop in value


Just a few months ago, a permit for driftnet salmon in Bristol Bay went for over $225,000. There were many in that general price range late last fall. This month, the prices at permit brokerages show that some are being offered for as little as $140,000, more than a one-third drop in value.

The price for commercial fishing permits goes up and down through time. In 2020, Bristol Bay drift permits could be found for between $170,000 and $180,000. Then they went up, and now they are down.

The Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission tracks the approximate value of permits across the various fisheries. For salmon in Bristol Bay, the price of a permits has been dropping for years, according to the Estimated Permit Value Report:

But according to permits listed at brokerages, the official value of the permits is far higher than what is being asked this season. The permits sold through brokers come with specific site leases or equipment, which makes it difficult to calculate just what is going on with permit values in real time.

With prices for Bristol Bay wild sockeye salmon at nearly record lows, however, some permit holders may be rethinking their future in Bristol Bay. It’s expensive to fuel a boat and feed a crew, when farmed and hatchery grown salmon has flooded the worldwide market, with no end in sight.

The market for commercially fished Bristol Bay salmon is also up against salmon product in the freezers of America that is left over from last year.

Peter Pan and Trident Seafoods are buying sockeye from Bristol Bay fishers for 80 cents a pound this year, half of what was being paid last year and some of the lowest prices since 2015.


    • The June court decision of 6.4 million awarded to investors was proof that pebble was a fraud and is not worth what was claimed and is not a commercially viable mine.
      Summarize; It’s over for pebble.

  1. Just an never-ending ongoing saga of Bristol Bay fisherman not getting what they should for the fish that the processors have control of. ie… The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

    15 years ago, this video given to the community that outlined and promised change for the fishing industry. The answer was for the Bristol Bay Economic Development (BBEDC) to buy Ocean Beauty Seafoods (OBI), which they did and while OBI still have millionaires at the helm, the fishermen are their mercy.
    Nothing’s changed in 15 years since the Bristol Bay region was promised economic stability, it’s now the entire fishery will and is being swallowed up by big business. Sad reality.

    • Because the wealthy don’t know Bible truths and how to use the money they earned. A financial leader can still have wealth and still see to his employees well-being is taken care of better than other employers employees without destroying his business because of his compensation to his employees. There nothing wrong with someone have more money than another.

  2. Suzanne, Please do your research no permits have sold at 140k. I called and tried to buy that permit and it was not available Permit prices are still up around 170k till something sells.

  3. If the market is so flooded with fish that wild Alaska salmon aren’t worth as much, why are there no fish in the Yukon basin? And why are Chinese trawlers working in U.S. territorial waters?

    • Who told you Chinese trawlers are operating in US Territorial waters? The only trawlers operating in the EEZ ( Exclusive Economic Zone ), which extends 200 miles to seaward of the 12 mile USA Territorial boundary, are the Seattle based factory trawl fleet which is decimating Alaska King Salmon, King Crab, Black Cod & Halibut. Good luck trying to reign them in as their corporate interests are very well protected politically, including Alaska’s Congressional delegation!

      • Gee Someone finally said it again. No corrupt politicians in AK or the US! They have been bought and paid for. That is why the Factory Fleets are still operating. Yukon subsistence be damned. So much for our Rep. Bycatch is just plain Wrong.

  4. Hell, I can remember when Bristol Bay Salmon permits were 50K back in the late 90’s I believe. If you want to go all the way back to 1974 they were only 5K! What is really disgusting is that fishermen fished without a posted price from processors for weeks and then ended up with only 50 cents a pound! There are going to be a LOT of boats for sale after this season & several processors look to be on their way to bankruptcy, including one that borrowed money from the PFD!

      • AK Bob – I’ve never seen a Bristol Bay salmon permit go for 500k & I’ve been involved in Alaska fisheries since 1978. Maybe a permit with the boat went for that, but a stand-alone permit – nah!

  5. Whatever. Many of the fishermen live in Seattle/L48. The low prices are nothing compared to oil dropping to a low of -13 dollars per barrel a few years ago.

  6. Time for mining and fishing to pay a Royalty to the state like oil and gas (12.5% of gross). Fishing pays 0 royalties and mining pays a paltry 2%. Taking our jobs and raw products and making fortunes out of state and country.

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