Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game are forecasting a run of 53.98 million sockeye salmon into Bristol Bay in 2015, with a harvest of 38.51 million salmon in Bristol Bay and 2 million reds in the South Peninsula.
That would be 40 percent above the previous 10-year mean of total runs and 51 percent greater than the long-term mean of 32.43 percent, biologists said. All systems are expected to meet their spawning escapements.
The largest sockeye salmon run on record for Bristol Bay since 1963 was 67 million sockeyes in 1980, but the harvest that year was only 27,187,880 fish. The lowest run on record since 1963 was 3.5 million reds in 1973, with harvesters delivering to processors only 1.6 million fish. The largest harvest on record was 46 million sockeyes in 1995, from a run of 63 million salmon.
This past year a run of 41.4 million salmon produced a harvest of 29.4 million fish. That compared with a harvest of 32.6 million sockeyes in 2007, from a run of 46.3 million reds.
It’s also looking like a good year ahead for pink salmon in Southeast Alaska, where
ADF&G biologists are predicting an estimate of 58 million humpies. State biologists said forecasting the 2015 pink salmon harvest was made exceptionally challenging by the unprecedented harvest of 95 million pink salmon in the parent year of 2013. That harvest was nearly 20 million fish higher than any other pink salmon harvest since commercial fisheries began in Southeast Alaska in the late 1800s.
The 2015 harvest forecast of 58 million pink salmon in Southeast Alaska is well above the recent 10-year average harvest of 41 million humpies, and a harvest of that magnitude would be in the top ten harvests since 1960, biologists said.