Alaska Statewide Salmon Harvest Coming Up Short of Forecast

Harvests in the Copper River, Cook Inlet and Chignik have been above average, but state fisheries officials say the commercial salmon harvests are coming up well short of the forecast of 203 million salmon of all species.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game spokesman Geron Bruce said the harvests are coming up short in a number of areas. “A few fisheries have been above forecast, but mostly below,” he said in an interview yesterday.

“It’s the pink salmon that are the big missing piece,” Bruce said. “We have a long ways to go with pink salmon and we are running out of time. We only have about 10 more days.”

There has been a record run of pink salmon arriving this month in northern Southeast Alaska, but nothing much is going on in the southern regions of Southeast Alaska.

Bruce said that Kodiak was not doing well with pink salmon harvests, nor has the Alaska Peninsula.

The forecast for Prince William Sound was for about 37 million to 38 million pink salmon, but as of this week only about 24 million pinks have been harvested.

The overall statewide salmon harvest for 2011 stood this week as the 25th largest harvest since 1960. On the bright side, Bruce said, more fish are still to be caught. If harvesters bring in another 20 million, that would put Alaska at about the 10th or 11th largest catch since 1960.