Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Salmon Harvest Tops 1.5 Million Fish As Season Kicks In

Alaska’s wild salmon fisheries have delivered upwards of 1.5 million fish so far this season, mostly sockeyes, and the catch is also growing in chum, king and pink salmon.

As of June 11, the estimated catch included 1,358,000 red, 110,000 chum, 83,000 king and about 1,000 pink salmon.

The bulk of the harvest has been in Prince William Sound, where the Copper River drift fishery alone has caught more than 1.1 million salmon, including 1,121,000 red, 34,000 chum and 8,000 king salmon.

Even as speculation is rising that the Copper River run may exceed forecast, increasing numbers of the state’s salmon streams delivering fish have predictably lowered retail prices.

As the Copper River drift fishery nears its peak, some of the approximately 500 vessels that were on the Copper River have moved on to the Coghill district drift, where the harvest had reached 43,000 salmon, and Eschamy district drift and set net fisheries, where fishermen have caught an estimated 29,000 salmon.

Harvests for Prince William Sound were approximately 1,256,000 salmon, including all five species, although mainly sockeye. The Prince William Sound general seine fishery had caught some 20,000 chum and fewer than 1,000 kings.

In Southeast Alaska, where the spring king salmon troll fishery has been underway since May 1, some 15,000 kings had been netted. Harvesters in Upper Cook Inlet had a catch of 7,000 salmon, mainly sockeye and in Bristol Bay harvests were just starting to come in for the Egegik and Ugashik districts. At Kodiak some 133,000 sockeyes were delivered, along with fewer than 1,000 king and 3,000 chum salmon.

ADF&G also posts a weekly in-season Alaska commercial salmon summary online at

With the competition from various fisheries, prices were starting to drop. At 10th and M Seafoods in Anchorage, whole Copper River kings were $20.50 a pound, Copper River king fillets were $29.95 a pond, Copper River sockeye fillets were $15.95 a pound and Copper River whole sockeyes were $9.95 a pound.

Sockeye fillets from Main Bay in Prince William Sound were going for $13.95 a pound and whole sockeyes for $8.95 a pound at the same fish shop.

In Seattle, however, Pike Place Fish Market posted Copper River salmon prices online as $29.99 a pound for whole fresh kings, $41.99 a pound for fresh king fillets, $111.93 for whole sockeyes and $25.99 a pound for sockeye fillets.

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