Pink Salmon Frenzy

January 26, 2017


There’s better news on the horizon for Alaska’s pink salmon fishermen following a season that was the worst in nearly 40 years.  Just over 39 million pinks were caught in Alaska last summer out of a forecast calling for 90 million.

Based on numbers by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game, fishery managers are predicting a much better showing for 2017 in major pink producing region.  Pink salmon run on two year cycles, with odd years bringing the bigger numbers. The pinks returning to Alaska this summer will be from the 2015 pack, the largest year on record.

For Southeast Alaska, the catch forecast calls for 43 million pink salmon, slightly above the 10 year average.  The harvest in Southeast last summer was only 17 million humpies, less than half of what was expected.

Alaska’s largest pink salmon fishery is at Prince William Sound, where the natural and hatchery returns could top 60 million pinks this summer. Last year the humpy harvest barely topped 13 million out of a forecast of 32 million at Prince William Sound.

Kodiak is the third largest pink producer – those catch forecasts for this year aren’t out yet. Usually 15 million or more come out of that fishery – although last year’s catch barely broke three million.

The Alaska Peninsula also has been adding more to the pink catches with nearly 9 million last summer, a rare bright spot.

Alaska’s 2016 catch of 39 million pink salmon paid out at 24 cents a pound on average, making it worth roughly $38 million at the Alaska docks.

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