Chelsea Horn, Homer, AK

Weekly Salmon Update (as of August 1, 2017) from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

The 2017 Alaska salmon harvest is  at 113.5 million fish (as of 8/2/2017).

This year marks the 30th consecutive year that Alaska has produced salmon harvests in excess of 100 million salmon, a testament to sustainable management practices and the state’s abundant salmon habitat. 

Pinks fell further  behind the 2015 harvest pace last week. While there is still time for pink runs to pick up, it appears likely that this year’s harvest will fall short of previous odd years. Pink harvests in Southeast Alaska and the Kodiak region have been especially poor thus far.

While fishermen wait and hope for more pinks to show up, keta (chums)  harvests have been stronger than expected.

Most regions have surpassed their pre-season forecast. Southeast is also showing larger-than-average keta (10.1 pounds). While the keta harvest is well ahead of last year’s pace, harvest statistics  suggest runs may be declining (from the peak) faster this year.

Sockeye harvests are nearly complete in most areas of the state (although Southeast harvests typically peak in mid-August).  With earlier sockeye runs in Bristol Bay, it appears likely that sockeye will fall short  of last year’s harvest.

Coho harvests are in full swing and although week 30 was below average, the species is still 26% ahead of last year’s harvest pace (through week 30) thanks to good fishing early on.The average coho size is down significantly in the Southeast troll fishery, the most prolific coho-targeting fleet in the state (4.6 pounds vs. 5.9 pounds in 2016).

—Compiled by Andy Wink, McDowell Group

AK Salmon catches as of Aug. 2/ADF&G:

Chinook:  235,000
Chum: 17.2 million
Coho:  1.4 million
Pink:  45 million
Sockeye: 49.6 million
Total:  113.5 million
(Salmon forecast for 2017 is 204 million fish.)