Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Alaska’s Commercial Salmon Harvest nears 26 Million Fish

Commercial harvesters in pursuit of Alaska’s wild salmon saw their preliminary harvest total jump by more than five million fish in just a day, and prepared for more as the calendar closed in on the upcoming Fourth of July holiday. 

According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s preliminary commercial salmon harvest report the total number of sockeye, king, chum, silver and pink salmon jumped from 20,132,000 fish on July 1 to 25,780,000 fish on July 2.

The latter total includes 17,386,000 red, 4,141,000 chum, 1,059,000 pink, 130,000 king and 35,000 silver salmon.

It’s that time of year when fishermen in Bristol Bay in particular are bracing for a surge of sockeyes, and indeed over the last two days the sockeye harvest in Bristol Bay alone rose from 9,021,000 to 11,318,000 red salmon, with the bulk of harvests in the Egegik, Nakenk-Kvichak and Nushagak districts.

In Upper Cook Inlet, the harvest nearly doubled over the last two days, with fishermen netting 173,000 sockeye by July 2, up from 95,000 reds a day earlier.

In Prince William Sound the total harvest of all five salmon species rose from 13,452,000 fish to 18,555,000 fish, including 1,677,000 red, 2,738,000 pink, 2,240,000 chum, 10,000 king and 1,000 silver salmon.

Prices for fresh wild Alaskan salmon were apparently holding their own. 
At the famed Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, whole fresh Copper River king salmon was $25.99 a pound, and whole fresh Copper River sockeye salmon was $64.95 per fish, while fresh Copper River king fillets were $33.95 and fresh Copper River sockeye fillets held steady at $20.99 a pound.  The management’s advice:

“It’s finally here. Get it while you can!”

FishEx in Anchorage was posting online prices of $25.95 a pound for fresh Copper River sockeye salmon fillets, $24.95 a pound for frozen Copper River sockeye fillets, $36.95 a pound for frozen Copper River king fillets, $26.95 a pound for white king salmon fillets, $23.95 a pound for flash frozen wild Alaska king fillets, and fresh king salmon fillets from Cook Inlet for $25.95 a pound.

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