AK salmon seiner
                   Credit: ASMI

Managers are calling Alaska’s 2017 salmon season a ‘banner year’, which except for Chinook, produced strong catches across the state. The preliminary harvest is just shy of 225 million fish.

“We were really pleased with how the salmon fishery went across the state this year. The total harvest came in above the forecast and there were a number of all time harvest records that were set.”  

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

Several catch records include – chums   at an all time high statewide, cohos at Norton Sound, ditto  pink salmon catches  at Chignik and the Alaska Peninsula.

For sockeyes, it was the third year in a row the catch  topped 50 million, with nearly 40 million coming from Bristol Bay.

The preliminary dockside value of nearly $700 million is a 67 percent increase over last season, and the third highest since 1975.   The value will go higher after post season bonuses and other adjustments are added in.

Sockeyes  accounted for 48 percent of the  total salmon value, topping $326 million.

Bowers says in terms of salmon sizes, there were no surprises, unlike recent years where Bristol Bay sockeyes ran small and Kodiak pinks were porkers.

“Nothing that stood out as an anomaly this year.”

Still, the total weight of the big catch topped one billion pounds for the third time ever.

Prices to fishermen were up across the board with Chinook averaging $5.86 per pound; sockeyes at $1.13; cohos at $1.19; chums at $0.66 and pink salmon averaged $0.32 a pound.