Statewide catches of wild Alaska salmon jumped from an estimated total of 20.3 million fish on July 7 to 53.5 million fish on July 14, lifting the spirits of harvesters in what has been a disconcerting season.

Biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game noted that the late run of the run into Bristol Bay was showing strength, along with an increase in the average size of the sockeyes.

"The fishery has picked up substantially," said David Harsila, of Seattle, president of the Alaska Independent Fishermen's Marketing Association.

Harsila, who fishes the Naknek-Kvichak for Alaska General Seafoods, said the size of the sockeyes has gotten quite a bit bigger, adding that so far it had also been a nice season weather-wise, warm with very little rain.

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