Monday, August 9, 2010

How are we doing on salmon?

The Alaska salmon season is heading into the homestretch now, and we've seen plenty of positives this year.

Overall, the commercial catch through Aug. 6 stood at 93 million fish on a forecast of 138 million.

The catch of sockeye, the state's top money fish, stands at nearly 40 million, about 6 million shy of projection. This could be the most valuable sockeye harvest in years thanks to substantially higher prices at Bristol Bay, our main sockeye fishery.

Upper Cook Inlet gillnetters surely have enjoyed this season with a commercial catch so far of 2.7 million sockeye, or nearly 800,000 more than forecast.

Much of the fishing effort this time of year is focused on pink and chum salmon.

This wasn't projected as a big year for pinks, but the news is hot nonetheless. Returns to Prince William Sound hatcheries are robust, and the pink salmon harvest on Aug. 3 shattered the daily record at 15.2 million pounds or 4.2 million fish, the Department of Fish and Game reports.

Parts of Southeast also have seen some strong pink harvests, with the fishing effort perhaps "influenced by the increased demand and price for pink salmon this season," the department says.

Way up north in Norton Sound and at Kotzebue, they're seeing great chum runs and catches.

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