Humpies Boost Alaska Salmon Harvest to 196 Million
October 1, 2019
A harvest surge in late August and early September boosted Alaska’s humpy harvest to more than 122 million fish and the overall wild salmon harvest to nearly 196 million fish.
The improved trajectory put the 2019 season at nearly 90 percent of the 2019 Alaska Department of Fish and Game forecast of 137.8 million pink salmon. With the keta salmon harvest at 15.5 million fish, compared to the forecast of 29 million, the statewide cumulative harvest lagged behind the forecast of 213.2 million fish, but far exceeded the 2018 cumulative harvest of 115.7 million fish.
Nearly 12 million pinks were harvested in the last week of August, the second strongest volume for statistical week 35 in at least 12 years, noted the McDowell Group’s Garrett Evridge, who produces the in-season Alaska commercial salmon harvest updates on behalf of the Alaska seafood Marketing Institute.
Prince William Sound led production with about 5.1 million fish landed, followed closely by Kodiak with 4.6 million humpies harvested.
The keta salmon harvest for the last week of August brought the year-to-date total to over 15 million fish, about 14 percent behind the 2018 pace Evridge said. That week also proved Southeast Alaska strongest of the year for keta with production of roughly 1.2 million fish. Still the region was only at about a quarter of its anticipated harvest. As the season continued to taper off, modest harvest volume was still anticipated from Southeast, Prince William Sound and the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim, among other regions.
The coho harvest of 2.7 million fish also lagged behind 2018 by about 8 percent, with about one third of those fish coming from Southeast Alaska. The Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands accounted for 20 percent and Prince William Sound nearly 15 percent. Historical data indicate that at least 100,000 fish would be harvested in September.
The sockeye harvest, holding at nearly 55 million fish, meanwhile exceeded the forecast of 41.7 million fish.
In advance of the Labor Day holiday weekend Costco stores in Anchorage were selling fresh fillets of sockeye salmon for $9.95 a pound, but also had fresh headed and gutted cohos for $5.99 a pound for sale.
In Prince William Sound the catch stood at 47,196,000 pink, 5,333,000 chum, 2,552,000 sockeye, 408,000 coho and 18,000 Chinook salmon.
Kodiak processors had received 30,987,000 pink, 1,998,000 red, 510,000 chum, 296,000 coho and 7,000 kings, for a total of nearly 33 million fish, while on the Alaska Peninsula the harvest of over 26 million fish included 20,350,000 pink, nearly 4 million sockeye, 1,355,000 chum, 510,000 coho and 27,000 kings.
Within the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region, small boat harvesters on the Lower Yukon River have reached an overall catch of 549,000 salmon, including 479,000 keta salmon, 56,000 coho, 11,000 humpies and 3,000 kings. At Kotzebue, fishermen have delivered to date 494,000 chum and 3,000 pink salmon. More small boat fishermen in the Norton Sound region brought in another 374,000 fish, including 157,000 chum, 134,000 coho, 75,000 pink and 7,000 sockeyes.