Commercial harvesters of Alaska salmon have topped the 110 million fish mark as the season continues to wind down, with increased catches of all five species.
As of Tuesday, Sept. 8, the harvest was still in progress, with a focus on cohos. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s preliminary commercial harvest report showed a total of 110,096,000 salmon delivered to processors, including 56.6 million pink, 45.3 million sockeye, 6.3 million chum, 1.7 million coho and 227,000 kings.
Overall, notes Garrett Evridge of the McDowell Group, approximately 500 million pounds of salmon have been landed this season, based on historical average fish weights. Sockeye account for 48 percent of the total, followed by humpies with 40 percent. Keta account for about 10 percent, with coho and Chinook contributing less than 3 percent of the total, said Evridge, who compiles weekly in-season commercial salmon harvest reports on behalf of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
About 90,000 sockeye were harvested last week, with nearly all volume coming from Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands regions. Few additional sockeye are expected this season, he said. Meanwhile the statewide total of some 45 million fish is nearly on par with the 10-year average, but about 15 percent below the five-year average.
The year-to-date humpy harvest in excess of 56 million fish includes nearly one million fish caught last week at Kodiak and Prince William Sound. About 17 million more pinks have been harvested in 2020 compared to 2018, or about 60 million pounds, Evridge said.
Keta and coho landings are 66 percent and 52 percent respectively behind the five-year average. The harvest of some 227,000 Chinook this summer is 19 percent behind a year ago. Still improved fishing in Southeast Alaska put that region 9 percent ahead of 2019 harvests.