Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hot pinks in Prince William Sound

Alaska's commercial salmon catch has now surged to more than 113 million fish, and a big reason is the record-setting pink salmon fishery in Prince William Sound.

Seiners took a staggering 20.3 million pinks in the Sound from Aug. 5 through Aug. 11.

It was the best harvest ever in a single week, almost doubling the old record of 11.1 million pinks in 2007, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported.

The harvest might have been even bigger, but processors were swamped and the fleet of 164 seine boats had to be throttled back.

The arrival of two floating processors in the Sound helped ease the capacity crunch.

Evidently the markets must have a serious hankering this year for pinks, the smallest, most numerous and least valuable of Alaska's five commercial salmon species.

Even in Bristol Bay, traditionally all about sockeye, gillnetters have taken more than 1.2 million pinks this season.

That's unheard of, buddy.

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