Western Alaska Salmon Harvests for 2016 Valued at $27.7 Million

Commercial wild salmon harvests in 2016 for Alaska’s western region totaled some 9,654,699 fish with a preliminary exvessel value of $27,730,204, state fisheries officials say.

That compared with a 2015 total harvest of 64,892,000 fish, valued at $75,256,000, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game report issued this past week.

Preliminary state harvest data showed harvests of 112,640,000 salmon worth $406,379,000 in 2016 compared with an overall commercial salmon harvest of 263,463 salmon valued at $414,219,000 a year ago.

The 2016 commercial salmon fishing season in the Alaska Peninsula, Aleutian Islands and Atka-Amlia Islands yielded a total of 15,345 kings, 5,981,217 sockeye, 260,922 silver, 2,883,577 humpies and 513,338 chum salmon, according to a preliminary report issued by ADF&G on Nov. 9.

Exvessel value information was generated from fish tickets and does not include postseason adjustments paid to fishermen.

The South Unimak and Shumagin Islands June commercial salmon fishery began on June 7 for set gillnet gear and on June 10 for seine and drift gillnet gear. Their preliminary commercial salmon harvest for the June fishery came in at 6,055 Chinook, 1,260,883 sockeye, 1,716 coho, 2,499,140 pink and 261,318 chum salmon.

For the South Peninsula Post-June fishery, including the Southeast District mainland from July 26 through Oct. 31, the commercial harvest totaled 6,804 Chinook, 807,336 sockeye, 176,799 coho, 339,864 pink and 139,519 chum salmon.

The low number of pink salmon returning to local streams resulted in no commercial fishing in the South Peninsula in August. Below average coho salmon harvest in September also limited commercial fishery openings until processor interest was withdrawn, biologists said.

In the North Alaska Peninsula, the total 2016 commercial harvest, excluding home pack and department test fishery, the projected harvest included 1,896 kings, 3.5 million reds, 75,818 silver, 12,274 pink and 88,894 chum salmon.

The North Peninsula harvest of sockeye and coho salon on the North Peninsula exceeded projected harvest levels, while the Chinook, pink and chum salmon were below projected harvest levels.

Commercial salmon harvests in the Kodiak management area of 5,926,918 salmon were well below the 2016 forecast and the previous 10-year average of some 24,068,105 salmon, according to the ADF&G season summary.

The catch, including 7,478 king, 2,063,472 red, 206,540 silver, 3,245,549 humpy and 403,879 chum salmon, had an estimated exvessel value of $14.5 million, the fourth lowest value since 1975, and well below the previous 10-year-average exvessel value of $362 million.