Alaska Salmon Harvest Tops 26 Million Fish

Commercial harvesters have topped the 26-million mark in wild salmon delivered to processors in Alaska so far this season.
Preliminary data from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) shows that the statewide catch through June 2 was 26,269,000 fish, including some 12,737,000 sockeyes, 9,582,000 humpies, 3,848,000 chums, about 93,000 Chinooks, and roughly 6,000 silver salmon.

For Prince William Sound alone, the total catch to date is nearly 15.5 million fish, including just over one million from the Copper River drift fishery.

Bristol Bay has already reached more than 10 million fish, predominantly sockeyes. The harvest accounts for 5.6 million caught in the Nushagak District, 2.8 million from the Egegik District and 1.9 million in the Naknek-Kvichak District.

Harvesters are also busy off of the Alaska Peninsula, where they caught more than 10 million fish – 8.5 million humpies, plus some 625,000 reds and 516,000 chums.

Garrett Evridge, of the McDowell Group, who produces a weekly in-season salmon harvest update on behalf of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, noted that through June 29 the sockeye and pink salmon harvests were contributing about 42 percent of the statewide catch overall. According to him, so far this year’s harvest is 67 percent above 2018’s volume, and 30 percent stronger than 2017.

Sockeye volume is up 5 percent year-to-date from 2018 and 10 percent above the five-year average. About a quarter of ADF&G’s 2019 forecast of 42 million reds has been realized.

Production is slow in Cook Inlet, with 248,000 fish, but has improved in Kodiak, Southeast and the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands.

Pink salmon production year-to-date is about five times the 2017 level. The Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands have dominated early harvests, with strength also seen in Kodiak and Prince William Sound. Evridge noted that the state’s humpy harvest generally peaks about five weeks from this point in the season.

Meanwhile, year-to-date keta salmon harvest is about 500,000 fish lower than a year ago, with Prince William Sound continuing to compensate for weakness in nearly every other area of the state. If Prince William sound landings are removed, the state’s 209 keta production is 61 percent lower than in 2018, according to Evridge.

On another note, the combined 2019 pink salmon forecast for Alaska and Russia is approximately 1.2 billion pounds. While the early forecasts are not necessarily record breaking, this would be among the most significant supply that the market has had to deal with in the last few years.

To track updated reports on the 2019 preliminary Alaska commercial salmon harvest visit