Alaska salmon fishing areas. Credit: ADFG


Alaska’s total  salmon catch for 2020 is projected to be down 36 percent from the 2019 haul.

State managers are calling for a salmon harvest of just under 133 million fish this season compared to 208 million last year.

The 2020 Run Forecasts and Harvest Projections and Review of the 2019 Season was just released by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game. The decline is driven  by a much lower, hard to predict pink forecast of just over 60 million fish, down nearly 53 percent.

Along with 68 million fewer pinks, here are the forecasts for other salmon catches:

For sockeyes, a catch topping 48 million compares to 55.5 million reds taken last year, or down about 13 percent.

A catch of 4.2 million coho salmon is projected, a 300,000 fish increase.

For chums, a catch of 19.5 million would be a drop of 100,000 fish.

A run of nearly 50 million sockeyes is expected at Bristol Bay’s nine river systems, six percent higher than the 10 year average, and a catch of 37 million reds is projected there.

Besides that, the outlook for salmon fisheries in most other Alaska regions is fairly bleak.

All eyes will be on how markets react to the first fresh fish of the year with the official season opener in mid-May at the Copper River near Cordova. Catches of just 36,000 kings and 771,000 sockeyes are expected there this year.

At Upper Cook Inlet a run of about 4.3 million sockeye salmon is projected with a commercial harvest of 1.8 million fish.

 Southeast Alaska’s pink salmon harvest projection calls for a dismal 12 million fish, down from last season’s low of just over 21 million.

Kodiak also is calling for a low pink harvest at around 12 million compared to 33 million fish in 2019.

Mediocre seasons also are projected for pinks and sockeyes at the Alaska Peninsula.