Preliminary wild salmon catch results show that Alaska’s wild salmon commercial harvest topped 58 million fish on July 17, including 16 million salmon for Bristol Bay—about one million fish shy of the already low harvest forecast for the famed fishery.
Still harvesters were elated this past weekend when processors started posting a base price of $1.50 a pound ---up 50 cents from the base price posted for the past two years.
One Bristol Bay veteran summed up the mood as “elation and dancing in the streets,” and noted that harvesters who caught the same amount this year as last year were much better off on this go around.
The Alaska Independent Fishermen’s Marketing Association was among those confirming the price. At least several processors were also adding 15 cents a pound for refrigerated seawater, and one additional nickel for bleeding the fish. With new competition coming into the Bay in 2014 with the opening of Silver Bay Seafoods’ new processing facility at Naknek, other processors were expected to match the base price.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game forecast was for a Bristol Bay run of 26.03 million salmon, with a harvest of 17 million and escapement of 8.50 million fish.
The preliminary statewide commercial harvest has reached 58,283,000 wild salmon of all species, including 25.4 million sockeye, 21.6 million pink, 10.4 million chum, 455,000 silver and 270,000 king salmon.
In Cook Inlet, the catch to date includes1,770,000 fish, including 1.6 million red, 49,000 chum, 35,000 silver, 16,000 pink and 4,000 kings, while Prince William Sound has delivered 22.3 million fish, including nearly 17 million pink, 3.2 million chum, 2.1 million sockeye, 10,000 king and 5,000 silver salmon.
Southeast Alaska harvesters have caught nearly 9 million fish, including over 5 million chum, 3.1 million pink, 312,000 silver, 280,000 red and 209,000 king salmon.
In the Alaska Peninsula the harvest, mainly from the South Peninsula, has reached 3.7 million fish, including 2.6 million sockeye, 669,000 pink, 561,000 chum, 92,000 silver and 4,000 king salmon.
At Chignik, processors have received over 2.1 million salmon, including nearly 2 million sockeye, 99,000 chum, 87,000 pink, 3,000 silver and 2,000 king salmon,. Kodiak processors have seen delivery of 2.8 million fish, including 1.6 million red, 788,000 pink, 354,000 chum, 23,000 king and 8,000 silver salmon.