ADF&G issues updated preliminary PWS forecast

A revised 2016 Prince William Sound season summary, issued by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Jan. 12, puts the 2016 commercial salmon harvest at 19.71 million fish.

The new summary, revising the one released in October, was written by managers and research staff at ADF&G’s Cordova office, including Jeremy Botz, Charles Russell, Steve Moffitt, and Stormy Haught. The date is still preliminary.

The harvest was composed of 13.05 million pink, 1.99 million sockeye, 3.17 million chum, 484,000 coho and 13,000 Chinook salmon. The harvest breakdown included 13.34 million, or 71.3 percent commercial common property fish, and 5.37 million, or 28.7 percent hatchery cost recovery and broodstock fish.

The 2016 preseason commercial harvest forecast for the Copper River District was 21,000 Chinook, 1.62 million sockeye and 201,000 silver salmon.  Gulkana Hatchery was projected to contribute 169,000 sockeyes to the CCPF harvest.

The harvest of wild sockeyes in the Copper River District CCPF was 1.0 million, or 85 percent of the harvest.

The CCPF harvest of 13,100 kings was below the previous 10-year average harvest of 18,000, while the season total coho salmon commercial of 369,000 fish was nearly double the previous 10-year average.

The 2016 Chinook salmon in-river abundance point estimate from the mark-recapture program run by the Native Village of Eyak was 16,009 fish.

The 2016 preseason commercial harvest forecast for the Bering River District was 14,000 sockeye and 46,000 coho salmon.  The actual commercial red salmon harvest of 9,840 fish was 53 percent above the previous 10-year harvest average of 6,420 fish, and the coho salmon commercial harvest of 80,400 was 77 percent above the previous 10-year harvest average of 45,500 fish.  Commercial fishing effort in both sockeye and coho salmon fisheries was high due to proximity to productive fishing in the eastern portion of the Copper River District.

ADF&G thanks PWSAC and the Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association for funding assistance during the 2016 season.  The department’s Prince William Sound Management Area program budget has been reduced nearly 20 percent over the last two years and further cuts are anticipated.

The participation of these groups in funding core management projects is invaluable, ADF&G said.

The complete updated preliminary summary is online at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/applications/dcfnewsrelease/761189371.pdf