The 2012 harvest of Alaska’s famed wild salmon picked up speed in mid-June, reaching a total catch of 2.1 million salmon of all species. Prince William Sound was still leading the way, with a harvest of 1.5 million fish, including 1,185,000 sockeye, 349,000 chum, and 10,000 kings. The Copper River District produced 1.1 million of those reds, 20,000 chum and the vast majority of those 10,000 Chinook salmon, and that didn’t include the latest harvest report on the 36-hour opener on June 14, which the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said brought in a preliminary count of 600 kings, 44,900 sockeye and 1,400 chum salmon, which was slightly below the anticipated harvest for that period. Reports were not in yet on the 24-hour Copper River opener that ended on June 19.
Prices remained strong for the available harvest, and Pike Place Fish Market still had whole kings for $26.99 a pound, king fillets for $39.99, whole sockeye at $59.94 apiece and sockeye fillets for $16.99 a pound.
Bristol Bay fisheries, which opened in early June, reported a harvest of some 12,000 sockeye in the Egegik District.
Cook Inlet’s harvest reached 84,000 wild salmon, including 82,000 reds, of which approximately 70,000 were caught in the eastern district of Lower Cook Inlet.
On the south side of the Alaska Peninsula, commercial harvesters had a harvest of 140,000 sockeye, 71,000 chum and 10,000 pink salmon. Chignik saw a harvest of 138,000 wild salmon, including 136,000 reds, while at Kodiak the catch of 99,000 wild salmon included some 84,000 reds and 14,000 chum, plus less than 1,000 each of king, coho and pink salmon. In Southeast Alaska, the Chinook harvest reached 17,000 kings, plus some 3,000 reds.
Alaska’s Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region had no reported harvest, and the outlook remained bleak for commercial as well as subsistence harvesters. State biologists said Chinook salmon were showing up very late and in very small numbers on the Yukon River, and the Bethel test fish index of king salmon was well below average for this time of year.