How low can Bay Area salmon prices go?

The rush of salmon predicted for this year’s season is indeed upon us, with many Bay Area docks and markets flush with fresh, delicious and, in many cases, inexpensive wild salmon.

Salmon numbers not seen in decades have crushed the wholesale price fishermen receive for their catch to as low as $2.75 per pound. While that price sounds like joy to salmon lovers, it’s driven a group of local fishermen to hang up their nets in protest, saying it’s impossible to make any money with prices lurking so low in deep water.

Larry Collins, head of the 14-boat San Francisco Community Fishing Association, told the IJ:

“We can’t afford to fish for three bucks.”

Collins and his cohorts are striking for higher prices, promising to keep their boats docked until prices are more favorable. The IJ reported several boats have been tied up for days.

The high salmon populations predicted for this season by the Pacific Fishery Management Council haven’t disappointed. The council predicted salmon populations higher than levels seen in at least 16 years for both coho and chinook salmon.

Even though wholesale salmon prices have tanked, not all resellers have been quick to jump on board with the low prices. Some markets were still selling fresh wild salmon for more than $20 per pound, or were just getting around to lowering prices.

Saturday afternoon, Oceana Market in Pacifica had wild salmon filets for $22.99 per pound. In Marin, the Greenbrae Mollie Stone’s had just slashed their price from $19.99 to $12.99 after getting a “good price” and passing it along, according to the store.

The best deal tracked down by the IJ was at the farmer’s market at the San Rafael Civic Center. Marina Fish and Poultry sells strictly “one-day-old” salmon at farmer’s markets for $9.95 per pound. Roasts run $12.99 and can be fileted for free.