Bristol Bay Run Harvest Exceeds 17 Million Salmon

Cold, nasty weather in Bristol Bay notwithstanding, the famed run of wild sockeye salmon has arrived and by July 9, the commercial fleet had a cumulative season harvest of more than 17 million salmon.

That was a jump of nearly 6 million fish since July 6, when the Alaska Department of Fish and Game released its weekly preliminary harvest summary, which showed the Bristol Bay catch at 11,772,000 fish.

The Bristol Bay daily run summary showed that for July 9 alone, the harvest was 1,161,000 salmon, with the average sockeye per drift delivery at 677 in the Naknek-Kvichak district, 430 in Egegik, 204 for the Nushagak and 198 for Togiak. Information on the drift delivery in the Ugashik district was not posted.

Statewide through July 6, state biologists calculated the cumulative harvest at 22,249,000 wild Alaska salmon, up from a statewide total of 9,449,00 a week earlier.

The Lower Yukon River, where the commercial fleet is dependent on summer and fall chum salmon runs, was also having a very good week, with a catch of some 79,000 chum salmon, and by July 9, that harvest had jumped to some 155,100 chum.

State biologists said that the Pilot Station sonar summer chum salmon passage estimate through July 9 was about 1.9 million fish, well above the historical median of 1.2 million fish for that date.

Chum harvests also improved on the Kuskokwim River, where the cumulative harvest reached 17,000 chum and 4,000 king salmon.In Cook Inlet, the harvest rose to 230,000 reds, 14,000 chum and about 2,000 kings.

The Copper River harvest increased to 1.4 million fish, the bulk of them sockeyes, but also 23,000 chum and 11,000 kings.

For Cook Inlet, the harvest doubled to 246,000 salmon, the bulk of them sockeyes, while in Kodiak the salmon harvest increased by one million fish, including 3.6 million sockeyes, 720,000 chum, 341,000 pink and 14,000 kings.

In Southeast Alaska the cumulative harvest reached 1.3 million salmon of all species, including 1,037,000 chum, 115,000 reds, 61,000 Chinook, 30,000 pink and 27,000 silvers.