The state’s largest commercial salmon harvest on record, recorded in 2013, was for 272.6 million salmon with a preliminary estimated value of $691.1 million.
ADF&G’s annual preliminary commercial salmon dollar values reports are based on estimated ex-vessel prices and do not include post-season bonuses or price adjustments. The final value of the 2015 salmon fishery will be determined in 2016, after seafood processors, buyers and direct marketers report the total value paid to fishermen in 2015, said Forrest Bowers, acting director of ADF&G’s commercial fisheries division, who wrote the report.
The 2015 harvest was comprised of 474,000 Chinooks, 15.2 million chums, 3.6 million cohos, 190.5 million pinks and 54 million sockeyes. That compared with 281,000 kings, 18.6 million chums, 5.3 million silvers, 219 million humpies and 29.3 million reds in 2013.
“Alaska’s salmon fisheries represent an important economic engine for coastal communities and we are pleased how our salmon managers adapted to unusual run timing in 2015, allowing for sustainable harvest of large returns to many regions of the state,” Bowers said. “We are encouraged to see strong landings and escapement from the Arctic to Prince William Sound, and are pleased that a number of depressed Chinook salmon stocks showed improved returns in 2015.”
Sockeye salmon held fast to its spot as the most valuable of the salmon species, with statewide harvests grossing some $198 million. A little less than half of the value of those red salmon came from Bristol Bay, where the harvest was excellent, but ex-vessel prices were 50 percent lower than last year, at 50 cents a pound. The statewide value of the pink salmon harvest was second, at $132 million, followed by
chums valued at $54.6 million, kings valued at $15.2 million, and silvers valued at $14.6 million.
The most valuable salmon fishing area in the state this year was Prince William Sound, with an all-species harvest value of $118 million.
In addition to $72 million in pink salmon, Prince William Sound sockeyes yielded an ex-vessel value of $35 million. Prince William Sound chum and Chinook salmon followed, with values of $8 million and $2 million, respectively.
The Prince William Sound humpy harvest was the largest on record at 98.3 million fish, exceeding the 2013 harvest of 92.6 million fish. Bowers said the wild pink salmon abundance is likely to break the previous record of 31 million fish.
Additional details on the 2015 Alaska preliminary commercial salmon harvest and ex-vessel values are online at www.adfg.alaska.gov.