Salmon fishing is a wrap except for around Kodiak and Southeast where cohos and late run chums and sockeyes are still being hauled in. Trolling for cohos in Southeast is usually the last fishery to close in Alaska’s salmon season.
The statewide catch of 214 million is five percent over the forecast and it could have gone even higher. But trip limits at Bristol Bay cut into sockeye catches when worker-strapped processors couldn’t keep up pace with the run.
The mid-August fire at the Peter Pan plant at Port Moller closed late fishing at the North Peninsula region, where fishing was really hot this summer.
A lack of buyers at the Kuskokwim put 500 salmon fishermen out of work in a fishery that usually produces two to four million pounds of fish.
And high transportation costs put the skids on fishing at outlying rivers around Yakutat.
Still, the season added to the record books.
For the tenth time in history the Alaska sockeye harvest (52 million) topped 50 million fish. For chums, it was the sixth time the chum catch exceeded 20 million.
And the catch of those hard to predict pinks came in at 135 million, about 95 percent of what was expected. Coho catches are over 4 million, also excellent.
The biggest downer for Alaska salmon this year was the shutdown of all king salmon fishing in Southeast due to low numbers of fish. The statewide Chinook take is under 250,000.
Total tallies for Alaska’s salmon catches and values by region will be released by Fish and Game in November.
By all accounts, Alaska salmon is moving well to markets at home and abroad.
More Americans have gotten a taste for wild salmon and a slump in the value of the US dollar means increased buying power by overseas customers.
Thanks to the assist from ASMI’s weekly salmon harvest update.