Alaska Salmon Harvest Climbs to 117 Million Fish

The preliminary total on Alaska 2012 commercial salmon harvest
stood at 117.4 million fish at week’s end Aug. 31, as the harvest slowed or concluded
in some areas of the state. That included some 63.2 million pink, 35 million sockeye,
16.7 million chum, 2 million silver and about 255,000 Chinook salmon.
In Southeast Alaska alone, the catch reached 31,744,000 salmon
of all species, including 20 million pink, 9.4 million chum, 1.2 million silver,
775,000 reds and 187,000 kings.
Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said that
while catch rates were generally low in the troll fishery’s second Chinook salmon
retention period, which began Aug. 11, that they were improving. Estimates were
that approximately 50,200 kings were harvested in the troll fishery through Aug.
29, which is about 64 percent of the harvest target of 79,900 fish. These kings
averaged 13 pounds and sold for an average price of $3.55 a pound this summer.
The pink salmon purse seine fishery in Southeast Alaska for 2012
was closed Aug. 27. Pink salmon harvests during the final openers on Aug. 26 and
Aug. 27 fell from 750,000 fish the prior opening to 121,000 fish caught by the 78
boats that fished. Biologists said that as early as Sept. 6, the department might
announce openings for Cholmondeley Sound chum salmon beginning Sept. 10.
In the Copper River, the cumulative harvest as of Aug. 29 was
posted at 1.86 million sockeye salmon. This compares with an anticipated harvest
of 1.16 million reds. The cumulative coho salmon from the Copper River District
is estimated at 47,000 fish, which is below the anticipated catch of 83,400 fish
for this date.
In the Kodiak management area, sockeye salmon commercial harvests
stood at more than 2 million, below average for this date. Some 839,553 chum salmon
have been harvested, slightly less than the average for this date. Pink salmon harvests
were slowing too in the Kodiak area, with the pink harvest at 16.4 million fish.