Alaska Salmon Harvest Nears 94 Million Fish

Alaska’s commercial salmon harvesters delivered nearly 94 million fish to processors through July 25, according to preliminary harvest data compiled by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G). That total includes some 48 million sockeyes − 37 million of which are from Bristol Bay − and nearly 30 million pinks, upwards of 15 million chums, 919,000 cohos and 229,000 Chinook salmon.

ADF&G harvest projections released in March predicted a sockeye harvest of some 41 million reds, and 142 million pink salmon. If realized, the total forecast harvest of 204 million salmon would be substantially greater than the 112.5 million caught in 2016, owing mostly to larger projected numbers of humpies, ADF&G biologists said.

Bristol Bay harvesters have delivered in excess of 38 million fish, including 37 million reds, 1.3 million chums, 38,000 kings, 22,000 pinks and 2,000 cohos.

In Prince William sound the humpy catch to date is about 17.6 million fish, compared to a forecast of 67 million pinks, but seine area management biologist Charlie Russell says that’s real close to the five odd year average, and the season could end up with some 40 million humpies.
On the Lower Yukon River, the harvest of those oil rich keta salmon has been good and the runs fantastic, said KwikPak’s Jack Schultheis. The summer run of chums, now over, was a great one, and the fall run that started on July 17 has proven fantastic so far, he said. Prices are a little higher than last year and the demand is the best ever for fillets, and headed and gutted product, he noted.

Other preliminary salmon harvest totals include 10.6 million fish from the Alaska Peninsula, including 6 million sockeyes; 4.6 million fish from Kodiak, including 2.3 million pinks, 1.2 million reds and 1 million chums; 1.6 million fish from Chignik, including 665,000 reds, 643,000 pinks, 310,000 chums, 20,000 silvers and 2,000 kings.

The Southeast region produced 12 million with nearly 6 million pinks, more than 5 million chums, 730,000 cohos, 237,000 sockeyes and 156,000 Chinooks.