The fall run of chum salmon on the Lower Yukon River has been coming in strong and Kwik’Pak Fisheries general manager Jack Schultheis at Emmonk says his harvesters are optimistic about a robust harvest of the oil rich fish.
The Alaska department of Fish and Game said in its statewide in-season salmon summary this past week that the projected fall chum run size, based on current assessment information, was estimated to be over 800,000 fish. Through Aug. 10, biologists estimated that some 537,000 fish had entered the river, which is above the historical average of 378,000 chums for that date.
Schultheis said these are “beautiful fish, nice big fat fall fish.” Much of this harvest is destined for the headed and gutted market in Japan, while other chums will be filleted and flash frozen for domestic and European markets.
Kwik’Pak employs some 225 area residents at its processing facilities in Emmonak and buys fish from another 250 area residents. The run is expected to continue through the end of the month.