Welch: Ups and downs in Alaska salmon season

US – Alaska’s salmon season so far has been characterized by ups and downs, and it will be a stretch for the total catch to make the forecasted 221 million fish.

“It just depends on how these late returning pink salmon at Prince William Sound performs, and whether or not pinks pick up at Southeast. It’s possible, but we would still have to harvest around 30 million more salmon,” mused Forrest Bowers, Deputy Director of the state’s Commercial Fisheries Division.

One of the biggest fish stories of the season, of course, was the surprising double runs of sockeye salmon (reds) to Bristol Bay. As soon as a slow going first run petered out and the fishery was declared a bust, a surge of late reds caught everyone by surprise and pushed the catch to nearly 36 million fish.

Alaska’s sockeye salmon fishery sometimes accounts for almost two-thirds of the value of the total salmon harvest. A statewide tally of 51.5 million by mid-August 14 makes it unlikely the sockeye harvest will reach the projected take of 58.8 million fish.

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About the author

Ashley Herriman

Ashley Herriman is the online editor for National Fisherman.

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