Summer salmon season: Alaska’s opening set

It may not feel quite like summer in most of Alaska today, but Thursday, May 16, marks the official opening of the state’s summer salmon season.

Alaska’s wild harvest accounts for nearly 95 percent of the wild salmon landed in the United States. King salmon is fished year-round. But the bounty that the summer season brings is unparalleled.

This year’s salmon forecast from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is more than 213 million fish to be harvested as they return to the state’s natal streams.

In May Alaska’s salmon fishermen will start to net returning sockeyes. Then in June, they will welcome silver, chum and pink salmon. Odd years are often banner return years for pinks.

If you love Alaska salmon, you have a last chance to submit comments on the Pebble Mine draft environmental impact statement with the Army Corps of Engineers. The mine threatens one of the world’s most productive salmon habitats in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

“The draft Environmental Impact Statement is misleading about the probability of a [catastrophic tailings dam]failure,” said Dr. Cameron Wobus, a senior scientist at Lynker Technologies who authored a report on tailings dam failure scenarios.

The draft’s 20-year time line, scientists say, is too short to evaluate the long-term risks. A 100-year analysis would have been more transparent, because the tailings dam has a 1 in 5 chance of failing over a century.

The comment period for this statement ends July 1. You can submit your feedback on the Army Corps website or by mail.

About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 13 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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