Pink Salmon Frenzy

Alaska’s salmon catches continue to sputter along, topping 74 million fish through yesterday. That’s about 55 percent of the statewide forecast of nearly 133 million salmon projected for the 2020 season.

So far only sockeyes have tracked along with the preseason expectations. A statewide catch of nearly 44 million reds is 90 percent of what managers predicted. Here’s an interesting take on sockeye markets by Rob Rieirson of Tradex Foods based in British Columbia –

“Our recommendation is to purchase your sockeye needs now. New intel shows that inventories of 2-4’s are low as somebody in the marketplace seems to be purchasing everything up.”

“Two to fours” refers to fish weights.

Alaska salmon catches will be dominated by pinks from now through at least next week.

Landings so far have topped 25 million but it’s a stretch they’ll make the target of 61 million fish.

Prince William Sound leads all other regions for humpy harvests at over 12 million; Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula also are seeing good pink salmon catches at over six million and three million, respectively. Southeast’s pink catches have barely topped 2 million.

Chum catches of just over 4 million are a huge disappointment – only 22% of the forecast with little hope for much more. Catches are  down 79% at Yukon, Nome and Kotzebue regions from last year, and down 66% at Southeast Alaska. Again, Rob Rieirson –

“The 2020 Alaska season is being cited as one of the worst in 12 years with many processors giving up on holding out for the run.”

Coho production of just 373,000 fish is 65% behind the 2019 harvest level so far.  The peak for coho catches is still a few weeks away. A total catch of 4.2 million silvers was projected prior to the start of the season.

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