Salmon forecast for 2016 down by more than half
March 25, 2016
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Alaska’s salmon forecast calls for a big dip this year. More after this —
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Alaska’s 2016 salmon harvest will be down by forty percent if the fish show up on schedule. In numbers released yesterday, Fish and Game is calling for a total catch of 161 million salmon this year; last year’s harvest topped 268 million fish.
The shortfall stems from a big decrease projected for pink salmon. For pinks, the harvest forecast of 90 million, is a decrease of 100 million fish.
Here’s the catch breakdown for other salmon: for sockeye, the forecast calls for a catch just shy of 48 million, down by more than 7 million from last year. A coho catch of 4.4 million would be a half million fish increase. For chum salmon, a catch of nearly 19 million would be half a million more than last season.
Other salmon highlights: at Upper Cook Inlet the sockeye take is projected to top 4 million, more than one million reds over last year. Sockeye harvests at Bristol Bay are pegged in the 30 million range. Kodiak’s pink salmon catch is projected at 16 million, considered average. An excellent pink catch of 13 million is expected at the South Peninsula. ADF&G does not do formal forecasts for the AYK region, but Norton Sound and Kotzebue are hoping for another stellar salmon season.
Warmer water is causing uncertainty with predicting sockeye runs at Copper River and pinks at the Panhandle.
Fishery managers say Copper River reds last year were the smallest in nearly 50 years and continued high temps can affect growth and survival.
At Southeast, pink returns last year were the lowest since 1997 and will likely be low again this year. Mangers say the appearance in the Gulf of more southern species like shad, squid, sunfish and tuna suggest more fish competition and predation than normal.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, an Alaska corporation proudly supporting Alaska’s coastal communities and the Alaskans who depend on fishing for their livelihoods and culture. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.