The sockeye run to Bristol Bay is the subject of a lot of attention. One of the entities that follows the run on a day-to-day… perhaps even tide-to-tide… is the University of Washington’s Fisheries Research Institute.
F-R-I has begun to generate some in-season abundance estimates utilizing the data available about the run including the pre-season forecast, the catch data from the Port Moller Test Fishery, and the most up to date catch and escapement data. In the summary issued on Friday the F-R-I researchers note that the catches from the first 10 days of the Port Moller test fishery and the very strong start in Egegik suggest that some components of the Bristol Bay run are early.
F-R-I uses modeling to come up with different run forecasts. For instance they are predicting that the run will reach nearly 33-million fish if the run is on-time. The forecast drops down to 32-million fish if the run is 1-day early and 31-million sockeye if the run is 2-day’s early. If the run is 3-days early they forecast the run will top out at 30.3-million sockeye. Those figures are based just on the pre-season forecast and the data from the Port Moller Test Fishery.
A model that incorporates those data points plus the current catch and escapement generates some different run totals. For instance F-R-I predicts that the run will be 36-million fish strong if the run is on time. If it’s 1 day early the forecast is for a run of 35.1-million sockeye. The figure is 32.6-million fish if the run is 2 day’s early. If the run is 3-days early the model predicts the run will be 30.9-million fish strong. The pre-season forecast put forward by the Fisheries Research Institute anticipated a total run this year of 28.1-million sockeye.
We’ll have more information about the observations of the researchers with the University of Washington’s Fisheries Research Institute during next weekend's Bristol Bay Fisheries Report.