Next year’s harvest of pink salmon in Southeast could be more than double this year’s according to a forecast out this month from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The state agency is forecasting a commercial catch of 43 million pinks in 2017. That compares to this year’s harvest of over 18 million humpies.
The state agency comes up with a forecast based on an average of the annual catch with additional adjustment using the results of an annual trawl survey done by staff at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Auke Bay lab in Juneau.
“If we just take our trend forecast it’s about 38 million,” said Andy Piston, Fish and Game’s pink and chum salmon project leader for Southeast. “Then when we add in the juvenile pink salmon abundance information we get from NOAA, that that increased our forecast by about five million fish. So our forecast is for 43 million which would be pretty good. It would be slightly higher than 2015 when we had 35 million so hopefully it will pan out.”