PWS commercial salmon harvest near 22M

Commercial harvesters in Prince William Sound added another 5 million fish to their total harvest over the last week, bringing the total through Aug. 7 to nearly 22 million fish, with the humpy harvest alone exceeding 17 million, of a forecast of 15.6 million.

In addition to the pinks, they delivered 3.3 million chums, 1.3 million sockeyes, 20 thousand silvers and 7,000 Chinooks.

Weather permitting, aerial surveys of all districts were to be conducted this week, to further assess the strength of wild stock returns throughout Prince William Sound.

The Prince William Sound seine fisheries were closed on Wednesday, Aug. 9, to allow for Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp. and further evaluation of fishery performance data.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game said an estimated 1.5 million pink salmon were harvested in Prince William Sound on Monday, Aug. 6, with 318 deliveries reported.

The cumulative Prince William Sound humpy harvest through Aug. 6 was estimated at 14.6 million common property fish, 1.1 million Valdez Fisheries Development Association cost recovery fish, and 1.3 million Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp. cost recovery fish, for a total of 17 million pink salmon.

The five-year even-year average for 2008 through 2016 cumulative Prince William Sound pink salmon harvest of cost recovery and common property fish through Aug. 6 was 25 million fish.

PWSAC recommended a closure on Aug. 8 for the Armin F. Koernig, Cannery Creek Hatchery and Wally Noerenberg Hatchery special harvest area, terminal harvest area, and corresponding hatchery subdistricts to start building broodstock. Industry sampling of the common property fishery from the Cannery Creek Hatchery on Aug. 6 indicated that 39 percent of the fish were female.

State biologists also said preliminary contribution estimates from the 14-hour period that began on Aug. 4 in the Southwestern District were 40 percent Armin F. Koernig, 6 percent Solomon Gulch Hatchery, 13 percent Cannery Creek Hatchery, 13 percent Wally Noerenberg Hatchery and 28 percent wild pink salmon. For the Northern District 94 percent was from the Cannery Creek Hatchery, 2 percent from Wally Noerenberg Hatchery and 4 percent wild pink salmon.

On a statewide basis, the cumulative harvest of wild salmon reached nearly 85 million fish, including some 48 million sockeyes, up from some 73 million fish for the same period a week earlier. McDowell Group economist Garrett Evridge noted in his weekly update for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute that Bristol Bay remains the bright spot for the state’s commercial salmon fisheries this summer, with one of its best harvests ever. All other sockeye harvests in Alaska have been well below the forecast.