A new report from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game estimates the preliminary ex-vessel value of Alaska’s 2017 commercial catch of 224.6 million pounds of wild salmon at $678.8 million, up 66.7 percent from the 2016 value of $407.3 million.
The 2017 Alaska salmon season has proved a banner year for the industry and the state of Alaska, said Forrest Bowers, deputy director of ADF&G’s Division of Commercial Fisheries.
“Tremendous harvests occurred across Alaska – from Kotzebue to Southeast, highlighted by an all-time record statewide chum salmon harvest,” Bowers said. “In addition, 2017 is the third year in a row statewide sockeye salmon harvest exceeded 50 million fish. Record wild salmon harvests like these are a testament to Alaska’s sound, science-based management, the professionalism of ADF&G’s staff, and thoughtful stakeholder engagement.”
These are preliminary harvest and value estimates that will change as fish tickets are processed and finalized, Bowers noted. Dollar values provided by ADF&G are based on estimated ex-vessel prices and do not include post-season bonuses or price adjustments.
The final value of the 2017 salmon harvest will be determined in 2018, after processors, buyers and direct marketers report the total value paid to harvesters in 2017.
Meanwhile, given preliminary 2017 catch and value data, sockeye salmon again ranked as the most valuable species, accounting for 48 percent of the value at $326.1 million and 23 percent of the harvest at 52.4 million fish.
Pink salmon accounted for 25 percent of the value at $169 million and 23 percent of the harvest at 52.4 million fish. Chum salmon were 19 percent of the value at $128.3 million and 11 percent of the harvest, at 141.6 million fish. Chums were 19 percent of the value at $128.3 million and 11 percent of the harvest, or 25.2 million fish. Cohos were 6 percent of the value at $37.6 million and 2 percent of the harvest, at 5.1 million fish, and the Chinook harvest of 251,141 fish had an estimated preliminary value of $17.8 million.
The all species wild salmon harvest of 1,041 million pounds ranks third from 1975 through 2017, and is only the third time harvest has exceeded 1 billion pounds.
In terms of ex-vessel value, the all species harvest of $676.6 million ranks third from 1975-2017.
The chum harvest of 25.2 million is the largest harvest ever of chums. Along with record breaking numbers, this year’s chum ex-vessel value of $128.3 million ranks second best for the years 1975-2017, and the pink salmon harvest ranks third in terms of ex-vessel value and fourth in terms of poundage, ADF&G said.
The Bristol Bay fishery brought in 37.7 million sockeyes valued at $209.9 million. Other fisheries experienced record salmon harvests too, notably in Norton Sound, where a strong coho return ended with a record harvest of 191,000 silvers, in Chignik where the pink salmon harvest of just over 7 million fish set a record, and in the Alaska Peninsula, where harvesters brought in a record 22 million humpies.