This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … You can now keep tabs on Alaska’s salmon catches every day. More on the new Blue Sheet after this –
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Salmon fisheries are starting out stronger and a bit earlier than usual at Kodiak where nearly 100-thousand sockeyes were taken in two days and it’s still going strong. Returns to main areas around the island were the best since 2005. Likewise, sockeye openers at Chignik and along the Alaska Peninsula were going strong and extended to mid-week at least. And more good fishing is underway for sockeyes continues at Copper River.Yesterday fishery managers started tracking reds heading to Bristol Bay although it could be a few weeks before the fleet starts fishing.
At Bristol Bay and elsewhere, when the fish hit things start happening fast. You can now track Alaska salmon catches by region and species on a daily basis with Fish and Game’s Blue Sheet. Starting this season, salmon managers made the change from weekly to daily catch updates from mid-May through September.
A glance at the Blue Sheet through Monday showed that the total salmon catch had topped one million fish, nearly half were sockeyes from Copper River; the remainder were chums from Prince William Sound.
Along with the daily blue sheet, Fish and Game also provides a weekly in-season summary that graphs the progression of commercial salmon harvests and compares it with the five year averages.
Alaska salmon managers are projecting a total catch just shy of 179 million fish, nearly 30 percent higher than last year’s 127 million harvest. Pushing the higher catch this year is pink salmon, expected to come in at 118 million fish, 73% higher than last year.
As always it will be a guess as to which region pulls in the highest total salmon catch. Last year, Southeast Alaska topped the list with 37 million salmon, followed by Prince William Sound, Bristol Bay and Kodiak.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.