In a presentation at ComFish2012, Gunnar Knapp presented data on Alaska's commercial salmon fishery that showed significant gains in harvests, prices, and values - and a more diverse market for Alaska's salmon exports. Knapp is a Professor of Economics at UAA's Institute of Social and Economic research (ISER), and a fisheries expert.
Of the nearly 800 million pounds of salmon harvested in 2011, about half was pink salmon, one-third sockeye, and 15% chum, with lesser amounts of chinook and coho. Sockeye salmon is more valuable than pink - with an average price per pound of $1.20 for sockeye compared to 43 cents for pink - so sockeye salmon was the value leader for Alaska. The "ex vessel" (landed) value of Alaska's total salmon catch is estimated to be $603 million for 2011, with sockeye salmon valued at $296 million, pink at $170 million and chum at $93 million. The ex vessel value was $164 million in 2002; the increase in value is a function of increased harvests as well as much better prices.
According to Knapp, better prices for Alaska salmon are a result of better marketing, new product types and improved quality. At the same time, world prices also increased for both wild and farmed salmon, and currency values also contributed to better prices.