Alaska pink salmon


Alaska’s salmon season is more than half over and the next week or two will give a clearer picture of how the total 2021 harvest will end up.

It will depend on how pink salmon catches play out – this week is typically the time when humpy harvests reach their peak.

After a slow start, pinks have pushed Alaska’s landings above five-year averages and catches increased by 11 million fish over the past week. By yesterday the statewide pink take was at 66 million out of a projected forecast of 124 million.

Prince William Sound was leading all regions for humpy hauls at nearly 36 million, well over the expected 25 million. Salmon landings overall in the Sound were up over 100% from last year.

Southeast finally had a decent surge nearing 20 million pinks so far out of a projected 28 million. Total year to date salmon landings are up at the Panhandle by 44%.

Statewide chum catches remained dismal with just over six million crossing the Alaska docks so far. The forecast called for 15.3 million this season.

For cohos, the peak is typically in early September and harvests are climbing slowly, nearing 800,000. The pace is less than half the five year average so far. The projected coho catch calls for nearly four million fish.

Sockeye catches had topped 52 million and stood at 174,000 for kings. Southeast trollers get another shot at Chinook starting August 13 and that will hopefully boost those numbers.

One bright spot – Cook Inlet salmon catches overall are up by 27% over last year so far after several dismal fishing seasons.

Alaska’s salmon season is projected to produce 190 million fish this year. The total catch so far was nearing 126 million fish.

Our numbers come from the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game and McKinley Research Group compiled for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.