- It costs more to run a fishing boat, because the fuel is more expensive, labor is more expensive. And it's dangerous. Fishermen probably have a hard time getting life insurance.
- Competition for the resource is growing - once it was mainly the Japanese who were buying vast quantities of Alaskan seafood, now the Chinese are buying it up as well. And there are billions of them, many more with money to spend than a few years ago. Asia is gobbling up our Alaskan fish.
- Climate change is warming the oceans - fish that rely on cold water and full rivers to spawn are finding warmer oceans and rivers that have shrunk due to lack of rain and not enough snow in the winter.
- In order to preserve the resource, regulators are monitoring the salmon migration. If there aren't enough salmon laying their eggs ups stream, there won't be enough salmon in future years, so they shut down the first opening on the Copper River after only 16 hours. There should be more openings, but they may be short as well.
If you are seeing sockeye at a cheap price, it's thawed out from last year - there just isn't any cheap, fresh wild salmon. Even if you went to Alaska to get it, it wouldn't be cheap.
This is one of the reasons we've researched top quality suppliers of ocean raised salmon - we get it from two pristine operations, one off the east coast of Canada, the other off the west coast of Scotland. This is good, sustainably raised fish, no chemicals or antibiotics. While there are some fish farming operators who have over crowded pens and poor environmental practices, we don't do business with them.
We wish that wild salmon was cheaper as well - we love wild salmon, too. We'll keep our fingers crossed that the next opening on the Copper River is days, not hours - we'll keep you posted!