The first thing fishermen want to know is the prices for their fish, but sometimes that can be tough to come by. Final sales for most of Alaska’s seafood are made long after a fishery closes, and settlements to fishermen may not be known for several months.
But there is an easy way to find out how fish prices are tracking. The state Department of Revenue’s Tax Division compiles prices for every kind of fish and shellfish caught by Alaska fishermen by region. The prices are not in-season; they show a snapshot of the previous year and how fish prices are trending.
Here’s a sampler from 2010: Alaska halibut went from a low of $4.49 per pound on the Alaska Peninsula, to a high of $5.17 in the Cook Inlet region. The highest price average paid for sablefish was $5.97 at Juneau/Yakutat to a low of $5.46 at Ketchikan/Craig. Herring at Bristol Bay averaged 7 cents per pound last year to a high of 65-cents at Ketchikan. Octopus fetched 45 cents at Kodiak and a nickel per pound for squid. Gray cod got the lowest price at 13-cents at Petersburg/Wrangell to a high of 49-cents at Sitka/Pelican. Lingcod went for a low of 46 cents at Kodiak, up to $1.22 at Juneau.
Kodiak fishermen got the lowest price for Chinook salmon at just 64 cents per pound compared to $5.41 at Prince William Sound. Chums saw a low of 28 cents at Bristol Bay to a high of 86 cents at Sitka/ Pelican. Cohos fetched 50 cents a pound at the Alaska Peninsula and averaged $1.55 at Sitka. The lowest price for pinks was at Cook Inlet at 30 cents to a high of 44 cents at Kodiak, Petersburg and Wrangell. For sockeye salmon the lowest price was at Bristol Bay at $1.07; the high topped $2 a pound at the Prince William Sound region.
There are prices for 15 different kinds of rockfish on the list – the lowest paid was a dime paid at Kodiak for red banded rockfish to a high of $1.42 for thorny heads at Dutch Harbor The priciest Alaska seafood last year? Spot shrimp at $7.81delivered to Juneau/Yakutat, followed by Bristol Bay red king crab $7.42 per pound. The lowest valued were rex sole, flathead sole and arrowtooth flounder, each at 2 pennies per pound.