Southeast Alaska Humpy Harvest Off to a Good Start

It’s still pretty early in the season to draw broad conclusions, but the pink salmon harvest in the Southeast Alaska seine fishery is coming in slightly ahead of average and the fish are about four pounds, half a pound more than the norm.

“But we’re still very early in the game,” cautions Dan Gray, regional management coordinator for finfish at Sitka for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

“We are just starting now and it will go for another six weeks easily.”

The forecast for the Southeast Alaska pink salmon harvest this year is 56 million fish. A record 88.7 million pinks were harvested in the 2013 purse seine common property harvest.

Gray noted that the silver salmon are still actively feeding and will be caught throughout the season, and that those being caught now are likely to be smaller.

Gulf of Alaska waters had extremely warm temperatures throughout the winter, which affects the metabolic rates and how much food various species of salmon need, but it is still too early to draw conclusions regarding sizes of multiple age classes of species like chums and sockeye salmon, he said.

An update on the Southeast Alaska salmon purse seine fishery issued by ADF&G on July 7 put the total estimated have from 275 participating fishing vessels at 557,195 salmon. That included 330,400 humpies, 205,400 chum, 12,240 sockeyes and 9,155 silvers. The biggest overall harvest for that purse seine fishery so far is at Tenakee Inlet, where the harvest of 124,905 salmon by 28 participating vessels included 118,000 pinks, 6,400 chums, 275 cohos and 230 red salmon.