September 24, 2013
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … Southeast is tops for salmon. I’ll tell you more after this –
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Southeast Alaska salmon fishermen have set a record, scoring more than 100 million fish for the first time ever, and it’s not over yet.
In terms of overall value, the Panhandle will likely top Bristol Bay for the third year in a row. It’s pink salmon that has put Southeast over the top – that preliminary catch stands at nearly 90 million humpies. All other species, except for king salmon, also have yielded some of the best catches ever for drift gillnetters, trollers and seiners.
Seiners have topped their best overall catches by more than 10 million salmon. Gillnetters are seeing the highest catches ever. And trollers have caught the most chum salmon since statehood.
Southeast’s king salmon catch is set each year based on a treaty with Canada. Trollers took nearly 85,000 kings in just six days – that tapped their quota and meant no more openers this summer. Biologists credit the bumper returns of salmon to favorable ocean conditions, especially over the past year. Many of the salmon are returning home to Southeast hatcheries – biologists estimate those fish will contribute 29% of the region’s total salmon harvest this year.
Second highest for salmon catches is Prince William Sound at over 94 million. Third is Kodiak at nearly 32 million salmon. Bristol Bay comes in fourth at 16.6 million. Rounding out the top five is the Alaska Peninsula at just over 12 million salmon this summer.
Alaska’s total, all species salmon catch so far is just shy of 270 million salmon. That compares to roughly 124 million salmon harvested last year. Values for the 2013 salmon catch will be out in October.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.