After a successful salmon fishing season through a pandemic and recovering markets, the value of Alaskan salmon licenses is rising in two regions while plummeting in others.
License values are calculated by the state’s Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission based on the average value of four license sales.
One of the peaks is the flagship Bristol Bay fishery, where driftnet licenses show good gains after a strong fishing season, despite a disappointing base price for sockeye salmon of $ 0.70 per pound, in down almost half from last year.
“The lowest asking price right now is probably $ 170,000,” Doug Bowen of Alaska Boats and Permits told Homer. “Of course the next big news here for the bay would be the forecast for next year, which is yet to be released, and it could certainly have an influence on what people are willing to pay for these permits. But they’ve risen significantly from the pre-season low of $ 150,000. “
Alaskan Quota and Permits in Petersburg lists a Bristol Bay permit at $ 195,000, while Dock Street Brokers has new listings of drifts between $ 170,000 and $ 180,000.
Kodiak was a beacon of hope for the salmon purse seiners who caught an unexpected wave of over 21 million pink salmon. This helped increase the value of permits for the first time in years.
“Before the season, those Kodiak seine licenses were probably worth around $ 35,000. In the last few sales they’ve hit around $ 38,000 and we now have them available in the market for $ 40,000. So they tend to increase a bit.
Permit Master shows Kodiak purse seine charts listed between $ 36,000 and $ 40,000 and $ 45,000 at Dock Street.
Elsewhere in Alaska, the value of other salmon fishing licenses has declined since last spring.
In Cook Inlet, another bad season has brought the value down to $ 20,000, the lowest since farmed salmon caused a meltdown decades ago.
“These Cook Inlet drift permits reached up to $ 240,000 or $ 250,000 at the high water mark, and then when farmed salmon arrived in the late 1980s and early 1990s, l The entire salmon industry collapsed and the value of permits fell 90%. percent or more. I remember selling Cook Inlet fins for basically $ 10,000, ”Bowen said.
The Copper River drift fishery this year was also a big blow.
“The fish just didn’t show up on the apartments over there. Before the season, those permits were about $ 140,000 to give or take, and recent sales are about $ 105,000, ”he said. “They’ve gone down a lot and there’s not a lot of movement there. No one wants to sell at these low prices.
Prince William Sound purse seiners did better in their fisheries, but the value of these licenses also fell from $ 140,000 to $ 145,000 before the season.
“You could probably buy one for $ 130,000 now,” Bowen said.
In southeast Alaska, where a disaster was declared after one of the worst seasons in more than 40 years, salmon license values reflect the decline.
“The drift and seine license market is pretty much flat with very little interest or movement in these licenses from the southeast,” Bowen said. “Before the season, you could have bought a drift permit for $ 70,000. The lowest asking price right now is probably $ 67,000, so I imagine you could buy one for somewhere in the $ 60,000 range. In the spring of last year, the southeast seine permits were in the order of $ 250,000; the asking price is now $ 175,000.
Nowhere in Alaska has the value of salmon fishing licenses declined as much as in Chignik, once the state’s most exclusive.
“They were probably the most expensive salmon license on the market for a while, at around half a million dollars. There has been absolutely no activity in this Chignik purse seine license market, and the lowest asking price is probably around $ 90,000. But there’s no point there, ”Bowen added.
The permit values at Zone M (False Pass) are also showing little interest after a lousy season and no postseason sales.
“We have a license listed at $ 185,000 and an offer of $ 140,000,” he added.
Despite the slowdowns, Bowen said most people are still optimistic about Alaska’s iconic fishing and boat sales are buoyant.
“You have to be prepared to take the risk of spending a lot of money on a boat in these uncertain times, but our boat sales are doing well,” he said. “I think nothing demonstrates confidence in the industry as much as buying a boat. It’s a huge investment, and people are doing it.