Written by Jen Finn
More wild salmon from Alaska will make its way to world markets this year if forecasts hold true for the 2013 season.
State salmon managers are projecting a total catch of nearly 179 million fish this year, 30 percent higher than the 2012 harvest of 127 million salmon. Pushing the higher catch is a robust return of pink salmon that could yield a harvest of 118 million fish, 73% higher than last summer's harvest of 68 million humpies.
The catch breakdown for other salmon species is 110,000 Chinook in areas outside Southeast Alaska; for sockeye salmon, the big money fish, a harvest of 34.3 million reds is projected, down just one percent from last year. For coho salmon, a catch of 3.9 million is just slightly higher, and a chum catch of 22.7 million is an increase of one percent.
In terms of total harvests last year, Southeast Alaska led all other regions at nearly 37 million salmon landed, followed by Prince William Sound at about 35 million. Bristol Bay placed third with a catch of just over 22 million salmon. Kodiak placed fourth topping 20 million salmon and Upper Cook Inlet was a distant fifth for salmon catches at about 4 million fish.
For total salmon value in 2012, Southeast came out on top for the second year running at $153.2 million; Bristol Bay ranked second at $121 million; and Prince William Sound was third with a total salmon value of nearly $111 million. That was followed by Kodiak at $46.5 million; Cook Inlet at $36.2 million; Alaska Peninsula/Aleutians at $17.5 million; C hignik at $13.8 million; Yukon at $3.1 million; Kuskokwim at $2 million; Norton Sound at $759,000 and Kotzebue with a total salmon value of $568,000.
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