Alaska’s Commercial Season Winds Down, with Catch Approaching 109 Million Fish

Commercial salmon fishing in Alaska is winding down for the season, Thursday, Sept. 3, the statewide harvest was moving toward 109 million fish.

The year-to-date harvest to date is nearly identical to 2018, though with 16 million more pink salmon, about 12 million fewer keta and five million fewer sockeye, said Garrett Evridge of the McDowell Group.

Historical data indicate only about three percent of the annual harvest occurs after week 35 in most year, he said. Evridge produces in season weekly reports on the commercial salmon harvest for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, the state’s official seafood marketing arm.

Some 180,000 sockeye were caught last week, with nearly all landings taking place in Kodiak and in the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands region.

The year-to-date pink harvest as of Sept. 3 totaled 55.8 million fish. The sockeye catch stood at 45 million, chums at 6.2 million, cohos at 1.5 million and Chinooks at 221,000.

Prince William Sound has contributed the most humpies of any region in the state, but that area lags in its projected harvest by about one third, Evridge said. Harvests in Kodiak have been particularly strong with that region now over eight million fish ahead of its projected harvest of roughly 12 million salmon. Southeast Alaska has produced about 11 percent of the year-to-date pink salmon harvest with landings at record low levels. Year-to-date statewide landings of keta salmon are 69 percent lower than 2019 and the five-year average.

Coho salmon landings are 55 percent lower than the five-year average. Although Bristol Bay is ahead of last year, landings are about 20 percent lower than the five-year average. Unlike other areas, fishing in Kodiak has been relatively strong with year-to-date harvest 16 percent ahead of the five-year average.

King salmon production is lagging by about 70,000 fish or 27 percent from a year ago. Improved harvests of kings in Southeast Alaska has narrowed the deficit against 2019 by 3 percent.