Alaska's commercial salmon catch is now well above 100 million fish.
The little pink salmon is the big story at this point in the season. Pinks are the most abundant kind of salmon, and seiners are really hauling them in.
Of the 107 million salmon of all species taken so far this season, nearly 55 million are pinks, according to the latest tally from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Sockeye salmon is the second-largest catch at 35 million fish, followed by chum salmon at almost 16 million.
It'll be interesting to see whether the industry can reach the state's preseason harvest forecast of more than 132 million salmon.
Even if it does, it won't be a particularly large salmon harvest this year, as the state has seen a number of seasons with catches exceeding 200 million fish.
Here are a few more salmon items of interest:
• We heard a lot of complaining from Cook Inlet setnetters over the extended closures they endured this season due to poor Chinook salmon returns to the Kenai River. The closures denied the setnetters a shot at their main money fish, sockeye. Well, now have a better understanding of their pain. In a letter to federal officials seeking a fishery disaster declaration for Upper Cook Inlet, Gov. Sean Parnell said the eastside setnet fishery was worth about $1.1 million to fishermen this year, compared to the annual average of $10.9 million.
• Coho, or silver, salmon generally are the latest to arrive each season. In Southeast Alaska, trollers have caught just over 580,000 silvers since July 1, receiving an average price of $1.81 per pound, Fish and Game reports. That price, times the average coho weight of 5.9 pounds, gives you a fish worth better than $10.50 at the dock.
• In the Kodiak area, the catch of 1.9 million sockeye is below average for this date in the season, but pink harvests are improving with 13.9 million taken so far, Fish and Game says.
• At Chignik, much of the seine fleet has quit for the season. It appears to have been a good one, with 1.8 million sockeye taken. A total of 68 permit holders made deliveries, the most in several years.
• Something unusual happened at Bristol Bay this season. Gillnetters in the Nushagak District took 877,000 pink salmon. Normally, the only fish in demand from the bay are its millions of sockeyes.
Dutch Harbor report
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