Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Yukon River Kwik’Pak Harvest Tops 1 Million

Kwik’Pak Fisheries, in Alaska’s Lower Yukon River community of Emmonak, is winding up a very good year, with more than one million salmon delivered, in a season that will conclude just four days from now.

Preliminary harvest estimates from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game would put deliveries through Sept. 6 to Kwik’Pak, a subsidiary of the Yukon Delta Fisheries Development Association, at a total of 1.2 million salmon.

The breakdown includes some 942,000 chums, including more than 500,000 from the summer chum run, plus 153,000 silvers and 127,000 humpies.

“We’ve had a really good, really successful season, the best we’ve ever had,” said Jack Schultheis, general manager for Kwik’Pak. “We feel very fortunate to have had the season we had this year,” he said. “It’s good for the community. The people are happy. The people made money. It’s a very positive thing for the community.”

During peak production, Kwik’Pak had a work force of some 300 workers. At one point, between harvesters, processors, tenderers and equipment workers, there were 15 villages represented, he said.

A healthy run of the oil-rich summer chum was followed by a fall run of very robust fish, averaging about 7.5 pounds, “really nice fish,” said Schultheis.

The Yukon cohos, not a big fish by nature, were averaging 6.4-6.5 pounds.

Markets this year have been good for Kwik’Pak, with market prices up maybe 10 percent to 20 percent over 2015, he said.

A lot of Kwik’Pak’s fall chums went out fresh to domestic markets, while others were frozen and are selling as fillets and headed and gutted product. Coho salmon went to domestic markets, groceries in the Lower 48, as fillets and headed and gutted fish.

Kwik’Pak’s fish also found markets in the United Kingdom, France and Japan.

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