Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Alaska’s Commercial Wild Salmon Harvest Tops 200M Fish

Alaska’s commercial wild harvest for 2019 reached 200,342,000 fish through Tuesday, September 17. Historically an average of 800,000 additional salmon are harvested between now and the end of the season, in about three weeks, says the McDowell Group’s Garrett Evridge, who compiles weekly reports on the Alaska wild salmon harvest in season on behalf of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Year-to-date sockeye harvests have reached 55,284,000 fish, with minimal additional production expected. Just under 50,000 sockeyes were added to the tally last week, mostly in Kodiak.

Year-to-date pink salmon harvest stands at 124,370,000 fish, approximately 10 million, or 7 percent lower than in 2017. That’s 45 percent lower than 2013 level and 34 percent behind 2015, Evridge noted. Some 400,000 pinks were harvested last week, nearly all in Kodiak.

Keta volume so far stands at 17,134,000 fish, approximately 2.5 million or 13 percent lower than in 2018. While the current harvest represents only 58 percent of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) forecast, the 2019 season remains comparable to the five-year average. Southeast Alaska produced most of the 280,000 keta harvested last week.

The addition of 130,000 coho brought the year-to-date total to approximately 3.3 million fish, 8 percent behind the 2018 pace. Coho account for at least half of total production in the final weeks of most Alaska salmon seasons, and Evridge noted that historical data suggest most of the remaining coho harvest will come from Southeast Alaska.

Preliminary data indicates that Alaska’s 2019 Chinook harvest of 255,000 fish met or slightly exceeded last year’s volume.

The state’s westward region overall through this week caught more than 65 million salmon, including 55,390,000 humpies, 6,664,000 sockeyes, 2,027,000 chum, 1,123,000 coho and 38,000 kings. Of that total 35,842,000 fish came from the Kodiak area, 126,174,000 from the Alaska Peninsula and 3,226,000 from Chignik.

An ADF&G season summary report on the Bristol Bay fishery released on September 17 noted that the 2019 inshore Bristol Bay sockeye salmon run of 56.5 million fish is the fourth largest and was 45 percent above the 39 million fish average run for the last 20 years. It was also the fifth consecutive year that inshore sockeye runs exceeded 50 million fish. 2019 was the second highest harvest of all species of salmon combined and reached the highest ex-vessel value of all time.

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