Credit: nature.org

Alaska’s salmon season is winding down with the total statewide catch so far topping 107 million fish. That’s more than 80 percent of the preseason forecast of nearly 133 million salmon.

Over the next few weeks, only about three percent of any remaining catches should occur, based on historical data.

Some late season highlights show sockeyes trickled into Kodiak and Alaska Peninsula nets over the week where about 180,000 were taken. That brings Alaska’s total sockeye catch to over 45 million reds, roughly 95 percent of what state managers projected.

More than 39 million reds came from Bristol Bay.

Pinks are Alaska’s “bread and butter” fish and catches of over 55 million are more than 90 percent on target for projections.

Surprisingly strong catches at Kodiak were set to top 21 million, beating out Prince William Sound as top pink salmon producer, at least for now. Kodiak’s catch is nine million fish ahead of its forecast.

To the contrary, pink salmon fishing at Southeast Alaska, which wrapped up on August 20, produced just 5.4 million humpies, the lowest since 1976 and the 5th lowest since statehood.

Chums also were a bust at Southeast with catches barely topping two million fish, the lowest harvest since 1990.

In fact, chum salmon runs were dismal in every region of Alaska. Total catches nearing 5.7 million are down nearly 70 percent from last year and the five-year average.

At Alaska’s farthest north fishery at Kotzebue, a harvest of 150,000 chums is the lowest since 2007. Catches there have averaged over 400,000 fish, with record chum runs over the past 10 years.

Chinook salmon catches of 211,000 are off by about 25% statewide, but only down by about 3% in Southeast Alaska.

Our salmon updates are compiled by the McDowell Group for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

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