Commercial harvests of salmon in Alaska jumped from 37.6 million to 68.8 million fish in a week’s time, with the catch in Bristol Bay alone swelling from 26.7 million to 46.8 million fish. Processors were keeping up with deliveries from fishing tenders in a very robust harvest.
Fisheries economist Sam Friedman, who produces the in-season commercial salmon updates for McKinley Research Group on behalf of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, said the week that ended July 9 would likely be the peak salmon harvest of the summer.
The Bristol Bay sockeye harvest continues to propel statewide harvest totals, with 21 million reds caught last week alone up 36% from the peak week in 2021. Early data on fish size from Bristol Bay show that sockeyes have averaged about 4.9 pounds per fish, up slightly from last year’s season average of 4.7 pounds.
While most salmon landings so far this year have been red salmon, the pink salmon harvests started to step up too this past week. The pink harvest is now ahead of the 2020 year-to-date harvest, led by Prince William Sound. Friedman said the current year for pink salmon is compared to the previous even-numbered year, 2020, because of pink salmon’s distinct two-year run timing pattern.
Keta and Chinook salmon harvests continue to be below year-to-date harvests in 2020, down 23% and 51% respectively. Both species usually see their strongest harvests at this point in the summer.
Fishermen in the Alaska Peninsula have delivered 8.6 million fish, including 6.8 million sockeyes, 1.2 million humpies, 588,000 chum, 7,000 Chinook 2,000 coho salmon, and for the Kodiak area the catch to date stands at about 9.5 million salmon, including 7.5 million sockeyes, 1.2 million humpies, 721,000 chum, 11,000 Chinook and 3,000 coho salmon.
The Alaska Department of fish and Game provides these preliminary catch figures in its daily blue sheet online at https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=commercialbyfisherysalmon.bluesheet.