E&E in Bristol Bay
Bristol Bay, home to the world...

Bristol Bay, home to the world's best managed, sustainable fishery. Some of E&E's areas of operations are highlighted in yellow.

Forecast harves...

Forecast harvest versus actual harvest since 2015. Once escapement goals are met, more fish can be caught – a sign of a well-managed fishery.

The beginning of the salmon season in Alaska is heralded in mid-May by the much-acclaimed, first opener of Copper River for kings and sockeyes. The media fan-fare with the transfer of the river’s “first fruits” to a waiting Alaska Airlines jet makes for great theater, but it’s just the first step in a months-long series of openers across Alaska that encompass all species – king, sockeye, coho, chum and pinks. Despite the hoopla and high prices of Copper River’s sockeye, the sockeye harvest everyone focuses on is that of Bristol Bay.

The Bay’s nine river systems are home to the world’s largest sockeye harvest (and 75% of all harvested sockeye in Alaska). The season gets going in June, builds through July, and – sometimes – sneaks into August. Bristol Bay has seen robust salmon runs recently, with actual numbers of fish caught exceeding forecasts every year since 2016. The catch forecast for 2021 is just under 35mn fish, against a run forecast of 50mn, the difference being the escapement necessary to seed the populations of future runs. It looks to be another banner and sustainable year.

E&E and its related affiliates have access to the Bay’s resources through mainly the Ugashik and Egegik Rivers on the western shores of the Alaska Peninsula. The catch forecast for the two combined rivers is nearly 15mn, with Egegik making up more than 9mn fish. The number is about the same as 2020’s actual catch, but more balanced than last year’s harvest that was 84% from Egegik.

We have the only floating processor in the area, the Cape Greig, that services the fishermen in the Ugashik River. The Coffee Point Seafoods and Big Creek plants – which sit next to each other on the beach – support the Egegik River harvest. Big Creek is a new addition to the group this year and will add to our sockeye production.

Although these two rivers don’t experience the volume of sockeye that the plants farther north in Naknek do, the Ugashik and Egegik fish quality tends to be better. This is because these sockeyes don’t experience the same chaotic, concentrated crush of fish that gets funneled into the narrower part of the Bay sometimes at the height of the run.

Contact your sales rep for your sockeye!