Research biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) in Cordova are forecasting a run of 13,920,000 to 33,200,000 pink salmon into Prince William Sound in 2019, which would put that fishery at 67.7 percent above the most recent 10-year average. More good news came for the chum salmon run in that area, which should see 275,000 to 779,000 fish, or 10 percent above the 10-year average.
Mixed forecasts for the Copper River harvesters. The predicted run of 33,000 to 77,000 kings would be nearly 20 percent above the 10-year average. However, the forecast for the sockeye salmon run, calls for 1,031,000 and 1,801,000 reds, which would be 31 percent below the 10-year average.
The Gulkana Hatchery, which has been experiencing poor returns, shows a run forecast between 71,000 to 125,000 reds, or 69.3 percent below the 10-year average.
The research biologists are reminding harvesters that salmon forecasts are inherently uncertain and are used primarily to gauge the magnitude of expected runs and to set early season harvest management strategy. ADF&G will continue to manage Prince William Sound area commercial salmon fisheries in-season, based on the strength of salmon abundance indices, including sonar counts, weir passage, aerial escapement surveys and fishery performance data.