Alaska Commercial Salmon Harvests Near 50 Million Fish

Commercial fish harvesters delivered nearly 50 million salmon to processors through July 17, including an estimated 36 million sockeyes, more than eight million chums, in excess of five million humpies, 261,000 silvers and 158,000 Chinooks. Harvest figures are compiled daily by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The largest harvests, more than 42 million fish, are coming in from Bristol Bay and Prince William Sound in the state’s central region. Bristol Bay’s Nushagak District so far has produced some 22.5 million salmon, including more than 21 million sockeyes, over a million chums and 35,000 king salmon. The sockeye harvest has been well above forecast, and state fisheries biologists confirmed that a new record is being set every day. The Nushagak’s Wood River Special Harvest Area is open and transfer time has been waived, with the total run and harvest in record territory.

Prince William Sound fisheries have captured 8.3 million salmon, including some four million pinks, three million chums and more than one million sockeyes, with the bulk of those humpies from the Prince William Sound general seine fishery.

Kodiak harvesters have delivered an estimated 841,000 salmon, mostly sockeyes and chums. Biologists noted that as of July 12 the sockeye harvest was approximately 287,000 fish, compared to a typical July 12 cumulative harvest of 900,000 to 950,000 reds.

On the Lower Yukon, some 420,000 keta salmon and 35,000 pinks were delivered to processors through July 17. Jack Schultheis of Kwik’Pak Fisheries, with processing facilities in Emmonak, said that small boat fishery is going well. “We had to stay on dip nets until July 4 because of king (salmon) conservation claims by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which caused us to lose a lot of production,” he explained. “But the run has been good, the markets (are) good and demand (is) stronger than last year. Some of that is driven by the high price of sockeyes, but the ongoing tariff war hasn’t affected Kwik’Pak, which sells fish into the European Union but not to China, he noted.