Friday, June 24, 2011

A satisfying salmon season so far

We came into the summer expecting a huge commercial salmon harvest — about 203 million fish, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game forecast.

It's way too early to know if we'll get there, but so far the statewide catch has been encouraging.

The harvest as of today stands at 7.9 million salmon, about 6 million of them sockeye.

The sockeye, of course, is the main money fish among Alaska's five salmon species. Sockeye runs have come in early and strong around the state, to the delight of many fishermen.

The real key to making the forecast is the little pink salmon. We'll have to wait a bit for the humpy hordes to hit.

Here's a few regional highlights from the young season:

• Copper River District gillnetters already have taken more than 1.1 million sockeye, nearly double what they caught all of last season.

• Chignik seiners are smiling, too, having bagged more than 1.5 million sockeye. The June 1-22 timeframe saw the second-highest harvest since 1970, Fish and Game says.

• At Bristol Bay, scene of the world's biggest sockeye run, the catch has topped 1.8 million fish, with 1 million of them coming from the Egegik District. In a very few days, we should see the fishery explode for much bigger numbers.


Anonymous said...

Alaskan's are lucky we still have areas in our state where commercial salmon fishing is good. The rivers in the Western Alaska coastal area which includes the Yukon and the Kuskokwim, are fastly becoming "Rivers of Concern" for the Salmon Managers thanks to the ByCatch of the Pollock Fishery. They are killing off the salmon in the sea before they return to the rivers to spawn.

Anonymous said...

Those trammel nets aren't doing much good up there either.

Anonymous said...

Ask the other areas about their halibut and Kings and you will find more than one river/area hurting in even bigger #s than the Yukon.

Because they are not the main harvest for these areas there is little press!!

There needs to be an overhaul of the system that manages when it comes to sharing and responsiblity.