There was much anticipation going into the 2015 Bristol Bay sockeye season this year, with some 54 million sockeye salmon forecasted to return. While the final return of sockeye may fall just short of the pre-season forecast, the 2015 sockeye season was a historic one, with a much higher than average return and a surprisingly late, long run. As of July 26, 51 sockeye salmon returned to Bristol Bay with 35 million of those fish harvested. The peak of Bristol Bay’s run came in about ten days later than usual this year.

A robust forecast, followed by what first appeared to be a season gone bust in Bristol Bay, culminated with a run of wild sockeyes exceeding 50 million reds, and the price to fishermen sank.

"Everybody's concerned with the price," said Dave Harsila, president of the Alaska Independent Fishermen's Marketing Association, and a veteran Bristol Bay harvester. "I don't think anybody expected it to be that low, but that's what it is.

Two seafood industry trade associations have come to an agreement to transfer, effective for the 2016 season and beyond, ownership of the Marine Stewardship Council sustainability certificate for Alaska salmon.

The transfer announced July 21 by the Pacific Seafood Processors Association and the Alaska Salmon Processors Association is to be completed by Oct. 1.

The agreement will have no impact on sales for 2015.

Tough restrictions that shut down fishing at the start of this year’s king salmon run on the Kuskokwim River may have made a difference.

A state research biologist told a Kuskokwim River advisory group Wednesday that goals for salmon escapement -- fish that swim past nets, hooks and predators to spawn -- have been met on several of the big river’s key tributaries.

An improving outlook for this summer’s Yukon River king salmon run has spurred the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to add opportunities for small subsistence harvests.

Another million fish harvested yesterday, and economist Gunnar Knapp tells us the strange run can mean uncertainty in the sockeye market.

Coming up this week, Bristol Bay sockeye strategically held back from hitting the nets until everyone doubted they'd show at all; Manakotak says “we can annex, too,” and getting to know our friends, the cannery workers. We had help KDLG's Molly Dischner and Dave Bendinger in Dillingham, and KFSK's Joe Sykes in Petersburg.

The 2015 fishery summed up? Odd, confusing, unique, strange. Or that's what fishermen and managers are telling us. Their take on 2015, fish numbers and other news, plus - how do you survive a Bristol Bay romance?

Statewide catches of wild Alaska salmon jumped from an estimated total of 20.3 million fish on July 7 to 53.5 million fish on July 14, lifting the spirits of harvesters in what has been a disconcerting season.

Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game noted that the late run of the run into Bristol Bay was showing strength, along with an increase in the average size of the sockeyes.

"The fishery has picked up substantially," said David Harsila, of Seattle, president of the Alaska Independent Fishermen's Marketing Association.

Bristol Bay lived up to its reputation for unpredictability as a bizarre late rush of sockeyes has surged into fishermen’s nets nearly a week past the historical peak, with enough still coming to potentially surpass the 20-year average harvest by several million fish.

“Things change,” said Chuck Brazil, assistant area biologist for Bristol Bay. “That’s why we manage the fishery day to day.”