Harvests of pink salmon in Alaska’s commercial fisheries have reached more than 86 million fish, bringing the total preliminary salmon catch total to date to nearly 160 million salmon.
The statewide catch also includes upwards of 51 million sockeyes, 19.7 million chum, 2.5 million coho and 242,000 Chinook salmon.
In Southeast Alaska, 20,732,000 of the 30,071,000 salmon delivered to processors are humpies. The forecast for Southeast Alaska’s pink salmon was for an estimated 43 million fish. An actual harvest of 43 million pinks would be just above the recent 10-year average harvest of 39 million pink salmon.
ADF&G fisheries researcher Andy Piston, in Ketchikan, says it’s still too early to say how the humpy harvest in Southeast Alaska will add up this year.
Right now, he said, it looks like it will come in around the low 30 million range. Why the odd-year harvest is lower than anticipated is an unknown. “Nobody knows what combination of factors in the ocean is influencing pink salmon survival, in localized areas especially.
The whole dynamic in the ocean is extremely complex and even with an unlimited budget, which they don’t have, it would be extremely difficult to pin down, he said.
In Prince William Sound, 35,809,000 of the 42,648,000 salmon harvested to date are humpies.
In Alaska’s Westward region, harvesters in the Alaska Peninsula have now delivered 22.5 million salmon to processors. Kodiak area harvests have brought in another 15.8 million salmon, and Chignik has added over 4 million more salmon.
The catch of chum salmon on the Lower Yukon River has reached more than 677,000 fish, and on the Upper Yukon, another 163,000 chum have been caught.
In Bristol Bay, the harvest stands at over 39 million fish, while Cook Inlet’s total salmon harvest to date is approaching 4 million fish.