Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wild Salmon Harvest Rises, Bristol Bay Waits

Alaska’s wild salmon commercial harvests more than doubled from July 4 through July 12, with deliveries to processors rising from 18.3 million to 42 million fish, in another late run year that left Bristol Bay driftnetters waiting for the surge.

As of July 12, the state’s preliminary commercial salmon harvest report showed a total Bristol Bay harvest of 20 million salmon, including 19.4 million reds, up from 6.8 million reds a week earlier, but the run was indeed late, said Greg Buck, the state Department of Fish and Game’s Bristol Bay area research biologist.

On one hand, it is uncertain whether the run will make the sockeye forecast, a run of some 46.55 million fish, with a Bristol Bay harvest of 29.52 million reds, Buck said. On the other hand, the situation isn’t all that unusual, he said.

Water temperatures have been very warm the last two years, and last year was a late run as well.

“The consensus is we are definitely late, but the question is how much,” he said. There are large scale ocean processes that go through long time series oscillations, such as the Pacific Decadal oscillation, and it is thought that some of these processes are related to the timing of returns,” he said.

Meanwhile, the overall statewide harvest continued to grow through July, bringing in 42,048,000 salmon through July 11, including 27.1 million sockeyes, 8.9 million humpies, 5.6 million chums, 256,000 kings and 244,000 silvers.

The bulk of the harvest was in the central region, including Bristol Bay, Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound, following by the Westward region, the Southeast region and the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region.

Bristol Bay driftnet deliveries to processors included 19.4 million reds, 548,000 chums, 26,000 kings, 6,000 pinks and fewer than 1,000 cohos.

Cook Inlet fishermen brought in 950,000 salmon, including 802,000 reds, 108,000 pinks, 23,000 chums, 5,000 kings and 12,000 cohos.

In Prince William Sound, processors had received 9.6 million salmon, including 5 million humpies, 2.9 million chums, 1.6 million sockeyes, 12,000 Chinooks and fewer than 1,000 silvers.

On the Lower Yukon, fishermen delivered 405,000 Yukon River chums and 87,000 humpies, and Norton Sound fishermen brought in 23,000 pink salmon.

The north side of the Alaska Peninsula had a catch of 1.9 million reds, 15,000 chums and 2,000 kings, while the south side of the Alaska Peninsula brought in 2.7 million pinks, 1.7 million reds, 301,000 chums, 5,000 kings and 5,700 silvers.

Kodiak processors saw delivery of 655,000 reds, 207,000 chums, 121,000 pinks, 15,000 cohos and 4,000 kings, and Chignik delivered 768,000 sockeyes, 44,000 chums, 35,000 humpies, 7,000 cohos and 4,000 kings.

Southeast Alaska harvest totals added up to 1.1 million chums, 689,000 humpies, 180,000 reds, 170,000 kings and 111,000 silvers.

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