Pink Harvests Boost Wild Alaska Salmon Catch to 171,432,000 Fish

Commercial wild Alaska salmon harvests haven’t come close to the forecast of 203 million salmon of all species for 2011, but they are continuing to climb. As of Sept. 2, a total of 171,423 salmon of all species had been harvested, quite a jump from 124 million reported through Aug. 12. The harvest included 403,000 kings, 13,678,000 chum, 2,308,000 silvers, 115,168,000 pinks, and 39,875,000 sockeye.

The Southeast Alaska harvest alone included 61.6 million pinks, and is being heralded as one for the record books, for volume and prices. The value of the seine catch in northern districts of Southeast Alaska has reportedly surpassed a record $100 million.

Fish and Game regional biologist Bill Davidson was quoted on public radio saying that the 2011 harvest is going to surpass the preseason forecast of 55 million pinks. “The combination of the record return on the north end and good average weights and best ever prices have probably blown away any previous value record, and it’s still going,” Davidson said in an interview with public radio station KFSK in Petersburg. Davidson said that he expected that the season would continue into early September. Along with the pinks, harvesters also brought in chum, sockeye and coho salmon. Prices have been strong, with the fat pinks earning seiners42 cents a pound. KFSK radio reported that seiners were also getting $1.50 a pound for sockeyes, 82 cents a pound for chum and 50 cents a pound for coho salmon, which have been exceptionally small.