This year’s robust wild Alaskan salmon 206.9 million fish harvest has an estimated preliminary ex-vessel value of $647.6 million.
Statisticians at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) calculated the totals, which amount to a 10 percent increase over the 2018’s value of $595.2 million.
Average prices for Chinook, sockeye, coho, pink and chum salmon varied by fishing district, ranging overall from a high of $8.59 a pound for Chinook caught in Prince William Sound to 35 cents a pound for kings caught in the northern district of the Alaska Peninsula. The Prince William Sound kings weighed in at an average of 18.42 pounds, compared to 7.42 pounds for those harvested in the northern district of the Alaska Peninsula.
Sockeye prices likewise went from a high of $2.49 a pound in Prince William Sound for reds, averaging 5.35 pounds, to $1.35 a pound for Bristol Bay reds, averaging 5.20 pounds. Pink salmon weighing in on average at 3.4 pounds in Prince William Sound paid 34 cents a pound, compared to Bristol Bay humpies coming in at 3.8 pounds and earning a nickel a pound.
Sockeye salmon statewide accounted for approximately 64 percent of the total value at $421.1 million and 27 percent of the harvest with 55.2 million fish. Pink salmon were the second most valuable species, representing 20 percent of the total ex-vessel value at $128.6 million, and bringing 62 percent of the harvest with 129.1 million fish. Chum salmon accounted for 10 percent of the value at $63.8 million and 9 percent of the harvest at 18.5 million fish. The coho salmon harvest of 3.8 million fish was valued at $29.6 million, and accounted for 5 percent of the overall catch, while kings, with an estimated harvest of just under 0.3 million fish, had an estimated preliminary ex-vessel value of $14.4 million.
Measured in pounds the overall harvest of 872.1 million pounds ranked eighth in the 1975-2018-time span. Chums ranked 16th, sockeyes 10th, humpies 9th and cohos 33rd for that same time period. The 2019 values for Chinook salmon were the third lowest on record since limited entry began in 1975.
State fisheries officials noted that these are preliminary figures that will change as fish tickets are processed and finalized. Dollar values provided by ADF&G are based on estimated ex-vessel prices and do not include post-season price adjustments. The final value of the season’s harvest will be determined in 2020, after seafood processors, buyers and direct marketers report total value paid to fishermen in 2019.
The harvest summary was released on Nov. 4.