The sixth opener on the famed Copper River wild salmon fishery is underway, and more salmon harvests are on the way, from Prince William Sound to Bristol Bay, Kodiak, Yakutat and the South Alaska Peninsula.
Statewide, the estimated wild salmon harvest now exceeds 777,000 fish, including 10,000 fish in the Southeast Alaska spring troll fishery that began May 1.
At the conclusion of the fifth opener of the Copper River fishery on May 31, the 36-hour opener harvest was estimated at 190,000 sockeye, 1,200 king and 1,700 chum salmon in 36 hours. That brought the overall harvest estimate to 672,000 sockeyes, 5,500 Chinooks and 23,000 chum salmon, according to Jeremy Botz, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s office in Cordova.
The Copper River harvest for the same date a year ago was about the same, but accomplished in three openers, rather than five, Botz noted.
The weather for the fifth opener began in a relatively mild manner, but kicked up on the second day and then to 30-40 knot winds and six- foot seas, Botz said.
Meanwhile, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game noted that the Coghill District drift fishery and Eshamy District drift and set net fisheries opened on May 29, with an estimated overall harvest of 6,000 salmon, most of them chums, in the Coghill District, and fewer than 1,000 chum in Eshamy.
Track the Alaska commercial fishing harvest estimates updates online daily at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=commercialbyfisherysalmon.bluesheet