Fish Radio

Salmon Day and salmon updates

August 10, 2016

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Sockeyes and pinks are the stories on Alaska salmon day. More after this –  Salmon Day

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Today, August 10th , is Alaska Wild Salmon Day – it’s official for the first time this year. Some top salmon stories this summer are huge catches of sockeyes and low catches of huge pinks.

The Alaska red salmon  take is on its way to  52 million and that will help salvage a summer that has seen lackluster catches of other salmon species, especially  pinks.

 We really haven’t been any bright spots in terms of pink salmon across the state.

 Forrest Bowers is deputy director of commercial fisheries at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Pinks were projected to come up short this year, and so they have at the big three   producers: Southeast, Prince William Sound and Kodiak.  Southeast is nearing 12 million pinks on a forecast of 34 million.

Right now it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll hit that number. We would’ve expected to see more catch at this point.  But we still have half the run to come in, so it should be well over 20 million.

The story’s the same at Prince William Sound where pink catches are less than 10 million on a forecast of    32 million.

 We are below average in terms of run timing so it’s unlikely we’ll hit that forecast there.  

  Kodiak’s pink salmon fishery is the slowest since the 1970s, with only 2 million humpies taken so far. The story there is the size of the fish – 10 to 14 pounds!  Pink salmon usually weigh about four pounds on average. Biologists say the larger size likely stems from a weak run and less competition for food.

The total Alaska pink salmon catch so far is   28 million on a 90 million forecast.

The  puny catch might help boost pink prices which are  in the 20 cent range at the docks.

The opposite is true for Alaska’s sockeyes salmon catches which so far are on their way to 52 million fish. The Alaska Peninsula had a bumper red salmon harvest at nearly 6 million and over 2.5 million reds at Cook Inlet.

With a statewide sockeye harvest over 50 million fish statewide. That will rank in Alaska’s all-time top ten.  

Of course, the bulk of the ‘big money’ fish come from Bristol Bay where a higher than expected take of   nearly 38 million was much higher than expected. Bowers says the 2016 season will likely be the largest sockeye salmon harvest since 1995. Prices were better too at 90 cents to over a dollar a pound for chilled fish.

  I think if you’re a Bristol Bay fisherman, you’re probably pretty happy, and if you fished anywhere else in the state, it probably hasn’t been a great season for you.

Find all of Alaska’s salmon catches and more at our website Happy Alaska Wild Salmon Day!

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.