Canned salmon pricing negotiations are expected to be fiercer than ever this year following a record start to the Bristol Bay red run.

In the first 10 days of fishing, boats had taken 15 million fish compared with 13.5 million last year. The final catch forecast has been upgraded to 28 million, trumping last year's 26.5 million fish.

"It is too early to predict pricing but if the run continues, UK traders will be reluctant to accept any price rises," said one industry source.

"However, packers will have higher costs due to fuel, tin plate and labour, so negotiations could be some of the toughest for some years." With more than two million fish caught in a 24-hour period, canneries are running at capacity. In order to keep up with supplies they have had to run their less profitable 418g tall can lines flat out.

The pink salmon run has also started and should mark a return to normal levels after last year's disastrously short run.

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