Alaska’s Salmon Catch Nearly 84 Million Fish

Alaska’s commercial harvesters have delivered nearly 84 million salmon to processors to date, a leap of 13 million fish since last week.

With the Bristol Bay fishery winding down, and the focus of Alaska’s salmon harvest shifting to pink salmon, the year-to-date harvest is slightly ahead of the long-term (odd year) average of 75 million fish, noted McDowell Group fisheries economist Garrett Evridge, who produces weekly in-season salmon harvest updates on behalf of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Preliminary statewide season totals compiled by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (AD&G) put the red salmon harvest in excess of 49 million fish, along with more than 26 million humpies, 8.1 million chum, 402,000 silver and 198,000 kings.

The red salmon harvest has reached 7 million fish above the AD&G forecast of 42 million sockeyes.

According to Evridge, of the last 12 seasons, only 2017 exceeds 2019 for year-to-date sockeye harvest. With Bristol Bay past its peak, statewide production of sockeyes is expected to drop quickly over the next two weeks. While Kodiak, Cook Inlet and other regions will continue to see modest sockeye volume, there is hope that Chignik will see improvement before the year’s run ends.

Pink salmon production has waned over the past two weeks to an overall pace 6 percent lower than 2017 but is similar to the long-term average. Kodiak, the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands harvests are on track, however the humpy harvests in Cook Inlet are down by approximately 27 percent compare to 2017. Prince William Sound shows numbers 40 percent lower while Southeast Alaska is down 87 percent, according to the report.

Keta production is lagging behind last year’s numbers by about 25 percent. Keta harvests this week brought in 8 million fish, which is 27 percent of the 29-million-fish forecast. Prince William Sound is the only bright spot for keta with all other areas of the state behind last year’s catch.

Evridge noted that harvests of silver and king salmon are also less than a year ago, but production of both species has improved compared to last week.