Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said that if realized the projected commercial chum salmon harvest would be the largest on record for Alaska.
The prediction calls for a harvest that includes 112,000 Chinook salmon divided into 41.7 million sockeye, 4.6 million coho, 137.8 million pink, and 29.0 million chum salmon in areas outside of Southeast Alaska.
Compared to 2018 commercial harvests, the projected 2019 numbers are expected to be: pink salmon – 96.9 million more; sockeye salmon – 8.9 million fewer; coho salmon – 900,000 more; and chum salmon – 8.7 million more.
Except for Southeast Alaska, pink salmon forecasts are generally based on average returns from previous brood years.
The report notes that the pink salmon run forecast for 2019 is partly an artifact of this method and that there is a great deal of uncertainty in predicting pink salmon returns.
For Southeast Alaska, the harvest forecast is for a total of 43,749,000 sockeye, coho, pink and chum salmon from natural and hatchery production, with the expected catch listing 1.2 million sockeye, 2.6 million coho, 19.3 million pink and 20.6 million chum.
For the central region, including Bristol Bay and Prince William Sound, the harvest forecast is for a total of 105,396,000 fish, including 73,000 Chinook, nearly 32 million sockeye, 984,000 coho, 68.3 million pink and 4.1 million chum.
The prediction for the western region shows a total of 61.5 million fish, divided into 38,000 kings, 8.5 million reds, 759,000 silvers, 50.1 million humpies, and 2 million chum salmon.
The complete forecast is available online at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/FedAidPDFs/SP19-07.pdf.