Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wild Salmon Harvests in Alaska Top 71 Million Fish

Our Wednesday, July 23 Fishermen's News Online contained errors in data that have since been corrected, below.

Commercial seafood harvesters in Alaska delivered some 71,053,000 salmon to processors through July 21, and the catch keeps growing.

Preliminary harvest figures from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game put the catch at 38,485,000 sockeye, 26,011,000 humpies, 5,775,000 chum, 624,000 coho and 384,000 Chinook salmon.

Last season’s harvest, powered by a record pink salmon harvest, brought in nearly 80 million salmon worth in excess of $691.1 million, a total only exceeded by the 1988 harvest value of $724 million, according to ADF&G calculations.

In Southeast Alaska, the first Chinook salmon retention period has ended, and most trollers were turning their attention to silver salmon, where average prices were $1.30 a pound, and the cumulative catch since July 1 was just over 122,000 fish.

Bristol Bay is winding down, with harvesters having delivered some 29,035,000 fish, including 28,551,000 sockeyes, 416,000 chum, 46,000 humpies, 13,000 Chinook and 10,000 silver salmon.

The going home price in the Bay averaged $1.20 a pound, compared with $1.50 a pound last year, prompting complaints from some harvesters. The last time the base price was $1.20 was 1998. Others noted that the harvest came in way over the forecast and pointed to forecasts of potential huge runs of sockeyes from Canada’s Fraser River and also from Russia.

The fishermen realize, said harvester Bill Gardner, who owns a boat repair business in Ballard, Washington, “that the guys who process the fish have to go out in the market and sell it.” “It’s a funny business to be in, but we are happy to do it, and we take what we get,” he said.

In Prince William Sound, the Copper River yielded a harvest of 1,998,000 sockeyes, 42,000 chum and 10,000 kings. The overall Prince William Sound harvest as of this week stood at 26.6 million salmon, including 22,327,000 pinks, 3,197,000 sockeyes, 1,104,000 chum, 10,000 kings and 8,000 silver salmon. The pink harvest was well above the average for this week and slightly less than a record cumulative pink salmon harvest of 21 million harvested by this week in 2013.

In Cook Inlet, the processors have received 2.3 million fish, of which nearly 2 million were sockeyes. The catch also included 229,000 humpies, 90,000 chum, 31,000 silver and 4,000 king salmon.

Fisheries in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region, from Kotzebue to the Kuskokwim to Norton Sound have delivered over one million salmon, the bulk of them chum.

On the Alaska Peninsula, harvesters have delivered 3.7 million salmon, including 1,592,000 from the North Peninsula and 2,105,000 from the South Peninsula.

Kodiak’s harvest has reached over 2.5 million salmon, including 1.7 million reds, 587,000 pink, 195,000 chum, 38,000 coho and 4,000 Chinooks.

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