Commercial harvesters in the Copper River fishery saw their catch of sockeyes and kings reach 442,009 and 10,554 fish respectively through June 12, with weights of each species rising, as prices fell with the openers of more wild Alaska salmon fisheries.
The most substantial catches of the first eight openers came during the 48 hour opener from May 23-25, with 1,003 deliveries that included 2,913 kings and 66,196 reds, and during the 36 hour opener, from May 30-31, with 757 deliveries of 979 kings and 77,422 reds.
While the forecast has not been revised downward, the current inseason projection put the total commercial harvest at about one million sockeyes, said Jeremy Botz, gillnet fishery manager at Cordova for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
As the mid to late June and July sockeye salmon runs come online, these inseason projections often change, sometimes dramatically, Botz said.
Average weights of the Chinook catch rose from an average of 16.2 pounds in the first period to 19.2 pounds by the eighth period, while average weights of sockeyes rose from 4.8 pounds in the first period to 5.3 pounds by the eighth period.
Average weights of cohos delivered remained steady at about 7.0 pounds, average weights of humpies rose from 2.0 pounds in the second period to 9.0 pounds in the sixth period and down to 7.8 pounds by the eighth period. Chum weights decreased from 7.1 pounds in the first period to 5.5 pounds in the eighth period.
Meanwhile other salmon fisheries were opening in the Bering River, Eshamy Main Bay, the Coghill district in Prince William Sound, as well as in Cook Inlet, the north Alaska Peninsula, Chignik and Kodiak.
And in Bristol Bay, Copper River Seafoods has already posted a base price of 75 cents a pound, plus 15 cents for slush ice or refrigerated seawater, 10 cents for bled fish and a 25-cent fresh market bonus, for a total of $1.25. Last year’s base price in Bristol Bay was 50 cents a pound.
The latest preliminary harvest figures posted by ADF&G as of June 12 showed a harvest of 1.1 million salmon, including 816,000 sockeyes, 182,000 chums, 89,000 kings, 35,000 humpies and fewer than 1,000 silvers.