Salmon still coming to Copper River

Bristol Bay catch hits 37.5 million fish

Commercial fishing effort in the Copper River, Coghill and Eshamy districts, along with the Prince William Sound general seine and hatchery fisheries boosted the overall regional harvest through July 26 to 11.9 million salmon.

The preliminary commercial harvest data compiled by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game showed a catch of 6,581,000 humpies, 3,384,000 chums, 1,884,000 sockeyes, 12,000 Chinooks and 1,000 silver salmon. The harvest boost just from July 19 included 93,000 sockeyes, 54,000 chums and 1,000 pink salmon.

For the same period, the statewide preliminary harvest meanwhile jumped from 63,622,000 to 74,133,000 fish.

The increase in just one week included the addition of 6,475,000 reds, 2,336,000 pinks, 364,000 cohos, 1,332,000 chums and 16,000 king salmon.

The catch has reached 1.1 million sockeyes, 32,000 humpies, 12,000 kings, 6,000 chums and 1,000 silvers in the Copper River district; and 1.8 million chum, 67,000 reds and 9,000 humpies in the Coghill district, 5 million pinks, 311,000 chums and 56,000 sockeyes in the PWS general seine district, and 1.5 million pinks and 935,000 chums for the PWS hatchery.

In Bristol Bay, the catch has now exceeded the forecast, but thanks to the pace of the run, with no big surges, processors have been able to process each day’s deliveries without settling catch limits for their harvesters. Processors have received 36.8 million reds, 686,000 chums, 54,000 humpies, 28,000 kings and 2,000 cohos., for a total of 37.5 million salmon, compared to 33 million processed a week earlier.

On the Lower Yukon River, where the fall chum run began on July 18, the processing of 597,000 chums and 127,000 humpies is keeping Kwik’Pak Fisheries at Emmonak busy, said Jack Schultheis, general manager.

The robust run has some 420 permit holders fishing, plus another 315 people, mostly from Emmonak, employed in the processing sector, Schultheis said.

Kwik’Pak’s Youth Employment Project, which offers local teens an opportunity for work experience, is employing 180 youths this year. “It’s a very positive thing,” Schultheis said. “It helps them a lot because they can earn some money, buy fancy cell phones and nice clothes. They show up all the time. Very few kids miss work.”

Cook Inlet harvesters have brought in 2.8 million fish, up from 2 million a week earlier. Their catch includes 2.3 million sockeyes, 346,000 humpies, 112,000 chums, 68,000 silvers and 9,000 Chinooks.

In Southeast Alaska, the catch jumped from 5.9 million to 8.9 million fish, with the big boost in humpies ad chums, and a catch total of 4.2 million pinks, 3.3 million chums, 687,000 cohos, 434,000 reds and 238,000 Chinooks.

The Alaska Peninsula saw its harvest rise from 7.7 million to 8.6 million fish, for a total catch now at 5.3 million reds, 2.8 million humpies, 396,000 chums, 119,000 silvers and 9,000 kings.
Chignik raised its delivery total to 1.2 million fish, including 1,062 sockeyes, 71,000 chums, 59,000 humpies, 29,000 silvers and 9,000 kings. Kodiak harvesters have boosted their catch total to 12.3 million fish, bringing processors 7.7 million sockeyes, 3.6 million humpies, 763,000 chums, 199,000 cohos and 26,000 kings.