Here are a few observations from the Alaska salmon season thus far.
• The Department of Fish and Game reports a total salmon harvest, all species, of 34.9 million fish. The forecast for the full season is 179 million.
• Sockeye account for more than half the catch at 20.3 million fish. We'll likely see pink salmon rise to the top the tally board later in the season.
• In Upper Cook Inlet, eastside setnetters have had four openers, taking 113,864 sockeye and 271 Chinook through the Fourth of July. The setnetters were largely shut down last season due to Chinook bycatch concerns.
• It's pretty clear now we'll finish with a lackluster catch this year at Bristol Bay, with the peak of the sockeye fishery now past. The catch stands at just over 13 million fish, on a preseason forecast of 16.6 million. No word yet on what processors intend to pay fishermen.
• On the Lower Yukon River, the new dipnet and beach seine fishery seems to have worked out well. The commercial chum catch through through July 3 was 203,835 fish, with 837 Chinook released. See our previous post for background on this fishery.
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