Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Alaska’s Salmon Harvest Exceeds 198 Million Fish

As the 2019 Alaska commercial salmon harvest winds down, the catch has climbed to a total of more than 198 million fish which is approximately 8 percent, or 18 million fish, lower than in 2017.

Still, the 2019 season is on track to become the eighth largest harvest since 1975, measured in numbers of fish, according to Garrett Evridge who produces weekly in-season salmon harvest updates for the McDowell Group, on behalf of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Catch of more than 55 million sockeyes in 2019 represents the largest yield since 1995 and the fourth strongest season since 1975. Some 130,000 red salmon were caught last week, primarily in Kodiak. Harvest has also been relatively strong for Chignik, with the region beating its five-year average for the past five weeks, Evridge said. Nearly 124 million pink salmon have been harvested year-to-date, 8 percent behind 2017’s pace. Production in recent weeks has closed the gap between 2019 and 2017. Some 3.5 million humpies were added to the total last week, the second strongest yield for statistical week 36 in at last 12 years, with 2.9 million of those fish caught at Kodiak.

The year-to-date keta harvest of 16 million fish is 16 percent behind 2018 and 7 percent lower than the five-year average. Although Southeast Alaska is well below last year’s numbers, and its 2019 forecast, the area has produced 39 percent of the state’s total – the most of any region.

Prince William Sound has caught nearly double their forecasted volume and contributed 33 percent to this year’s production. Historical data indicates some 500,000 fish are typically harvested through the end of the season, which is three weeks away.

Preliminary numbers show coho production slowed last week to about 250,000 fish. The five-year average for the week is nearly 500,000 fish. The year-to-date total of some 2.9 million cohos is 11 percent lower than last year and 23 percent behind the five-year average. Prince William Sound is currently the primary source, with other volume coming from Kodiak and Chignik.

Recent production in the Alaska-Yukon-Kuskokwim region has been disappointing, with weekly catches less than half the five-year average. Chinook volume of nearly 240,000 fish is nearly equal to the 2018 harvest. The king harvest through the rest of the season is expected to be minimal, based on historical data.

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