Alaska salmon fishermen could catch nearly a hundred million more salmon this year if forecasts hold true.
The boost is due to expectations of another big haul of sockeyes, plus increases in pinks and a possible record harvest of chum salmon.
That will be a relief for some Gulf of Alaska regions that in 2018 saw some of the worst catches in 50 years.
The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game is predicting a total, all species catch of 213.2 million salmon for 2019, compared to about 116 million salmon last year that was valued at almost $600 million at the Alaska docks.
The harvest breakdown this year is pegged at 112,000 Chinook salmon in areas outside of Southeast Alaska. Chinook harvest numbers for Southeast are determined be treaty with Canada, and the all gear limit will be 137,500 kings.
For sockeyes, a catch of just under 42 million is projected, about 9 million fewer than last year.
For pinks, a haul of nearly 138 million would be 97 million more.
A coho salmon harvest of 4.6 million would be an increase of 900,000 silvers over 2018.
Chums are projected to set a record with a catch of 29 million, nine million fish more than last year and well above the 25 million record for chums set in 2017.
Some forecasts to watch:
Copper River’s sockeye salmon catch is pegged at under a million fish.
Southeast’s pink salmon run is predicted to be weak with a catch estimated at 18 million. A big source of uncertainty is the abnormally warm sea surface waters in the Gulf.
At Kodiak, the predicted pink salmon harvest of 27 million is in the Excellent category. The pink harvest in parts of the Alaska Peninsula also is expected to be excellent, with nearly 21 million pinks projected to be caught at Southern regions.
Upper Cook Inlet could see a sockeye harvest of 3 three million reds.
A Bristol Bay sockeye harvest of nearly 27 million would be down by 8 percent from the 10 year average.
Find links to the 2019 salmon forecasts here by region and a review of Alaska’s 2018 season.