Chronicling A Record Haul Of Bristol Bay Sockeye

Bristol Bay’s sockeye fishery is smashing records, with almost 70 million fish harvested, which has made for an exciting summer for fishers.

Here’s more from National Fisherman on the season:

2021’s sockeye salmon run in Bristol Bay broke the existing record. Over 65 million fish returned to the region. This was a natural abundance of epic proportions that filled the rivers, smokehouses, freezers, jars, and hearts of everyone involved. These catch records occurred with every escapement goal met, preventing overfishing and propagating future healthy runs. This coming season is predicted to break the record yet again!

Fishing season allows us to feel that strong net of support lifting us up and making us accomplish things we never believed possible. It’s an epic time of comradery, excitement, aliveness, sharing of stories and meals, empowerment, struggle, triumph, and hard lessons. We are all united in our intense love for the wild, salmon, and the freedom that the fishing lifestyle provides. There’s strength in knowing that we are in the same struggle and it feels more doable together – much like the fight to ensure the proposed Pebble Mine project never comes to be.

I can’t help but think that those salmon showing up so suddenly in such a massive school, in such solidarity, were sending us humans a message we can’t ignore. As with good art or poetry, it’s a message transmitted directly to the heart, that deep-down part of us that registers truth. Thinking back to my childhood and how horrified I was to hear about the proposed mine, and now, having experienced firsthand the bounty of wild salmon and the piercing beauty that is Bristol Bay, I see what’s at stake. I can’t unsee it.