We're now smack in the middle of Alaska's commercial salmon season. Here are a few observations.
• The statewide all-species catch stands at nearly 89 million fish, or roughly half the preseason forecast of 179 million.
• Harvest of the state's most valuable salmon crop, sockeye, is nearly done, and the catch is likely to end up short of forecast. The tally of 27.8 million fish is well short of the projected 34.3 million.
• We're entering prime time for pink salmon purse seiners. Prince William Sound boats already have taken nearly 25 million pinks, while Southeast Alaska seiners have bagged 15 million. The statewide forecast calls for a big haul of nearly 118 million pinks this year.
• Kodiak has taken nearly 5.5 million salmon of all species so far, including a strong 1.9 million sockeye.
• The Lower Yukon River summer chum salmon fishery is over, and the catch of about 378,000 fish is the highest since 1989, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports. During the fishery, 928 Chinook salmon were caught and released and 436 Chinook were reported kept but not sold.
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