Photo: Alaska Fish Radio
Alaska salmon season is off to a very slow start; more fisheries are coming on line
Friday, June 26, 2020, 15:40 (GMT + 9)
Alaska’s salmon catches are the lowest in at least 12 years for this time of year, although it’s too soon to jump to conclusions. Typically, less than 10% of the annual harvest occurs in by this time and continue to expand and climb sharply into early July.
The weekly update from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute show that sockeye landings of 777,000 fish are roughly 75% lower than the same time in 2019.
All regions are slow against prior years with Prince William Sound down most sharply by 71%. Kodiak sockeye catches are down 28% and Cook Inlet is down 42%.
Chum salmon production also is weaker from last year with the current harvest of just under one million fish about half of 2019 at this time.
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Prince William Sound is the main chum-producing region right now and it’s going slow. Kodiak chum catches so far are only off by 9% from last year and the Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands region is up by 11%.
That region also has produced nearly all of Alaska’s 1.4 million pink salmon catch so far – up 389% from this time last year.
Chinook landings of 16,000 are 48% lower year-to-date, due to a low Prince William Sound harvest. In most years, that is offset by stronger catches in Southeast and Bristol Bay during June and July.
Keep in mind that most of Alaska’s salmon fisheries have only been open for a short while or are just getting underway, notably in Southeast and Bristol Bay.
Fishing kicked off in the Nome region yesterday where forecasts call for well above average runs of chums, pinks, reds and silvers.
In all, Alaska is projecting a total statewide salmon catch this year of 132 million fish, down 36 percent. The decline stems from a much lower forecast of those hard to predict pinks of just over 60 million fish, down nearly 53 percent. Alaska’s total salmon catch so far has just topped three million fish.
ASMI’s weekly salmon update is compiled by the McDowell Group.
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Author: Laine Welch | Fish Radio Programs, Salmon
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