Wrap ups of Alaska’s 2017 salmon season are being released by state managers and they show mostly strong fisheries with a few exceptions.
On the weak end, the total catch at Upper Cook Inlet of about three million salmon was 13 percent less than the 10 year average. The sockeye catch of less than 2 million was down 18 percent and the smallest harvest in the last 10 years. The preliminary all-species value to Upper Cook Inlet fishermen of $23.7 million was down 21 percent.
Lower Cook Inlet fishermen fared better. A total catch of 2.5 million salmon fetched about $4.5 million for fishermen, nearly double the 10 year average.
At Prince William Sound nearly 800 permit holders caught just over 56 million salmon valued at $128 million. That averaged over $74,000 for drift gillnetters, nearly $54,000 for setnetters and $313,500 for seiners.
The Sound’s catch of nearly 44 million pinks was 26 percent below the forecast. At Copper River, the sockeye harvest of 570,000 was 60 percent below the 10 year average, and weights of 5.5 pounds were the third smallest on record. Conversely, a record 2.4 million chums were taken by seiners.
At Chignik 67 permit holders caught less than 900.000 sockeyes but more than 7 million pinks, five times more than usual. The Chignik fishery value of nearly $16 million paid out at $236,000 per fisherman.
Norton Sound’s 138 salmon fishermen had the best payday ever totaling nearly $3 million. Sockeye catches were the second highest and cohos set a record.
On the Yukon, 401 permit holders fished for chums this summer, 388 at the Lower Yukon where the average paycheck was just under $4,000. At the Upper Yukon, 13 fishermen pocketed just over $21,000 for their chum catches – both were above the 10 year average.
The biggest fish story this summer was at Bristol Bay where the all species harvest of nearly 40 million salmon ranked second over the past two decades. The preliminary dockside value of about $215 million is almost double the 20 year average.
No salmon wrap ups are out yet for Kodiak and Southeast.
Alaska’s 2017 all species salmon harvest was 224.6 million fish with an estimated preliminary dockside value of $678.8 million, a 66.7% increase from 2016’s value of $407.3 million.