July 11, 2024


Once again, it's that time of year! Our crew of the F/V Ava Jane are back in Bristol Bay, Alaska, for the annual Sockeye salmon run. For those unfamiliar with the location, Bristol Bay, Alaska, is situated close to the bottom left corner of the state's continental plate and is encircled by the Aleutian Islands, facing the Bering Sea. Summertime brings the sight of the sockeye salmon run, a wild event that turns these pure rivers into a flurry of activity. As another season is underway, let's take a closer look at what the 2024 sockeye salmon run has in store.

Sustainable Fishing Practices

To guarantee that future generations can continue to enjoy the benefits of this rich ecosystem, a concentrated effort has been made in recent years to encourage sustainable fishing practices in Bristol Bay. Our fishermen are dedicated to protecting the delicate balance of the ecology while still responsibly catching salmon. This is demonstrated by their carefully managed quotas. As stewards of the sea, we recognize the value of preserving a healthy marine ecosystem and are committed to ensuring the survival of the sockeye salmon population in Bristol Bay.

Run Timing and Migration Patterns

As sockeye salmon migrate from the open ocean to the freshwater rivers and streams of Bristol Bay, historical data and satellite tracking studies offer important insights into the timing and patterns of their journey. Scientists estimated that the 2024 sockeye salmon run might get underway early, with fish entering the water as early as late May or early June. As of now, we are getting into the peak of the Sockeye run. 

2024 Bristol Bay Sockeye Run Forecast

Recent forecasts for the 2024 sockeye salmon run in Bristol Bay are optimistic. Early indicators suggested an average run, with 39 million expected to return this year. In the last few days that projection has been increased to 53.2 million. This year's sockeye salmon run was projected as an average run and is now supposed to be a strong run.  

Spawning Escapements and Harvest Projections

In addition to monitoring migration patterns, fishery managers and biologists closely track spawning escapements and harvest projections to assess the health and abundance of sockeye salmon populations. With the recent increase in projections this also means the the harvest projection has increased. Using a combination of aerial surveys, sonar technology, and genetic sampling, researchers estimate the number of salmon returning to their natal streams to spawn, known as escapement. Based on preliminary data from 2023 and historical trends, experts predict that the 2024 sockeye salmon run could see healthy escapement levels, potentially surpassing previous records set in recent years.

Gearing Up for the 2024 Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Run: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

Enduring Boat Readiness

Before setting sail, the crew of the F/V Ava Jane conducted a thorough inspection of the entire vessel, leaving no stone unturned. With safety and efficiency in mind, every moving part is scrutinized to ensure optimal performance during these crucial weeks. The goal? To minimize the risk of breakdowns while out at sea, allowing the crew to focus on the task at hand: bringing in the catch.

Got Nets?

A crucial step in the preparation process is getting the nets shipshape and ready for action. For drift gillnetting, like that used in the Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Run, meticulous attention to detail is paramount. This involves adding new mesh to the nets, ensuring they're in prime condition to capture the prized salmon as they make their way through the bay. With years of experience under their belts, the crew knows that success starts with a well-prepared net.

Outfitting the Boat with Supplies

With the boat in tip-top shape and the fishing gear loaded on board, the final step was to stock the cabin with provisions for the journey ahead. Dry goods, carefully selected to sustain the crew during their month-and-a-half stint at sea, are meticulously stowed away. From hearty meals to snacks for sustenance, every item is chosen with care, ensuring that the crew has everything they need to stay nourished and focused on the task at hand.

Meet the 2024 Crew of the F/V Ava Jane