PWS humpy harvest up to 47.5 M

Region’s overall salmon harvest climbs to 54.5 M fish. Statewide catch jumps to over 210 M salmon

Pink salmon are prolific in front of Orca Adventure Lodge, where they’re schooling up, and jumping like mad near the beach. These photos taken on the evening of July 30 show frisky pink salmon already changing colors as they return to home waters to spawn. Photo by Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times

A strong late run of pink salmon has boosted the harvest in Prince William Sound to 47.5 million fish, and while the catch is still below average, it could hit 50 million fish.

That was the perspective on Sept. 5 from Bert Lewis, central regional supervisor in Anchorage for the state Division of Commercial Fisheries.

“It’s gone pretty well,” Lewis said. “We have had some strong late run entry, which also helps hatcheries achieve their brood stock harvest.

“We are under forecast, but it’s not as bad as it could have been,” he said. “The forecast was about 60 million. We might hit 50 million if you count all the fish, but it’s not a bad season compared to last year.”

One of the issues this year was that hatcheries have experienced some whale predation, with whales showing up in areas where hatcheries release the fry. Hatcheries in Southeast Alaska were experiencing similar issues with whales hankering after chum salmon.

Processors in Prince William Sound have received delivery of some 54.5 million salmon through Sept. 5, including 47.5 million pink, 5.4 million chum, 1.4 million sockeye, 183,000 silver and 13,000 king salmon.

The preliminary harvest data is released daily by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and posted on the agency’s website.

Statewide, the commercial salmon harvest topped 210,154,000 fish, including upwards of 132 million pink, 51.9 million sockeye, 22 million chum, 3.8 million silver and 245,000 kings.

The Prince William Sound general seine fishery brought in 44.8 million fish, including 42.2 million pink, 2.4 million chum, 121,000 red, and 83,000 silvers.

Prince William Sound hatcheries had 4.9 million fish, including 4.1 million pinks and 724,000 chum, while the Coghill district had 2.9 million fish, including 2.1 million chum, 657,000 pink, 112,000 red and 4,000 silvers.

Preliminary harvest update figures for Alaska’s westward region showed a total catch of over 66 million fish.

Kodiak harvesters delivered nearly 30 million salmon, including 25.4 million pink, while in the Alaska Peninsula, the harvest of nearly 29 million fish included 19.7 million pink, 7 million sockeye, 2 million chum, 332,000 silver and 9,000 kings.

Chignik harvesters delivered to processors 7.3 million salmon, including 5.8 million pink, 850,000 red, 548,000 chum, 130,000 silver and 4,000 Chinook.

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Margaret Bauman is a veteran Alaska journalist focused on covering fisheries and environmental issues. Bauman has been writing for The Cordova Times since 2010. You can reach her at mbauman@thecordovatimes.com.