Sockeye Harvest Likely Second Largest In 20 Years

Alaska’s summer salmon season, based on preliminary harvests, produced more than 112 million salmon of all species, and while it is a substantial number of fish, it’s well below the anticipated total harvest. Still sockeye harvests will likely end up being the second largest of the last 20 years, with last year being the largest harvest for that period, according to the latest report from the McDowell Group in Juneau, for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Association.

Large sockeye harvests were seen in Bristol Bay and the Alaska Peninsula, while Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound, Kodiak and Chignik came up short of their forecast, McDowell’s Andy Wink told participants in ASMI’s All Hands meeting in Anchorage this week. Meanwhile pink salmon harvests fell 56 percent short of the preseason forecast, prompting Alaska Governor Bill Walker to seek federal disaster relief. Keta salmon fell 15 percent short of its forecast, as Southeast harvests came up short, and Chinook harvests fell 9 percent short of forecasts, although run strength generally improved in Cook Inlet and the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region, while declining in much of Southeast and the Copper River region. Coho salmon also fell 12 percent short of forecast.

In whitefish markets, exports of US cod have been steady, but prices low, as are prices for Alaska Pollock fillet blocks. Alaska surimi exports are up slightly, but at lower prices, and Alaska sole prices have increased slightly, but there is less supply, he said.

Wink’s market summary also predicted a rise in fresh halibut prices for most of the season, and higher prices for black cod, Alaska king crab and snow crab. Over 100 million pounds of other species, including herring, dive species, scallops, shrimp and skates, are also adding value to Alaska’s overall seafood supply, he said.