March 15, 2017
Alaska state salmon managers are predicting a harvest this year that nearly doubles last year’s catch, due to an expected uptick in the number of pinks. A report released yesterday on salmon run forecasts and harvest projections for 2017 pegs the total catch at 204 million fish. That compares to just over 112 million salmon taken across Alaska in 2016.
That catch last season included 53 million sockeye salmon—the fifth largest harvest since 1970—but only 39 million pink salmon, the smallest harvest since 1977.
For this year, the forecast calls for an “average” catch of sockeye salmon at 41 million – 12 million fewer reds than last year. For those hard to predict pinks, a harvest projection of nearly 142 million is about 103 million more humpies than last summer.
For the other three salmon species, managers project a catch this year of 4.7 million cohos, nearly 800,000 more than last year. A chum catch of 16.7 million would be an increase of 1.2 million. For Chinook salmon, a harvest of 80,000 is projected in areas outside of Southeast Alaska, where catches are regulated by treaty with Canada.
The total dockside value of the 2016 salmon fishery was just over $406 million. The average prices paid to fishermen were up across the board at 88 cents a pound for sockeye salmon; 65 cents for cohos, 48 cents a pound for chums, 24 for cents for pinks and $4.40 cents a pound for king salmon.
The 2017 salmon forecast report includes a review of the 2016 season. It’s at the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game home page with links at www.alaskafish radio.com. Check out our growing line up of pod casts. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.