Alaska’s total salmon harvest has topped 200 million fish in an up and down season that finally panned out to be a good one.
Managers predicted a total catch this year at 213 million fish. Salmon showed up in fits and starts for most of the summer and until last week at least one million Alaska salmon were landed for 13 weeks in a row.
The sockeye catch exceeded 55 million – the fifth year in a row that Alaska’s harvest topped 50 million reds.
Over 43 million sockeyes came from Bristol Bay and Fish and Game says the preliminary value of that catch is $306.5 million to fishermen, an all-time record.
For those hard to predict pink salmon, the catch is not far off the mark.
Forrest Bowers is deputy director of the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game’s commercial fisheries division.
“You know, we were forecasting a pink salmon harvest of about 138 million and we’re at 124 million right now. So that to me, that’s pretty darn good. You know, pink salmon forecasting is difficult and those returns have a lot of volatility from one year to the next, a lot of uncertainty there, and so I think to be within you know, roughly 10% of 140 million fish forecast is this good.”
Prince William Sound leads for pink salmon catches at over 47 million followed by Kodiak at 33 million humpies.
Chum catches topping 17 million are down by 13 percent from last year and just 58 percent of the prediction of a record 29 million. Still, it’s comparable to the five year average.
Coho catches will come in for a couple of weeks, for the most part likely from Southeast. Over 3 million cohos have crossed the docks so far.
Chinook salmon catches at 250,000 have met or slightly topped last year’s take.
Our salmon updates come from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and are compiled by the McDowell Group.