Silvers still running as season ebbs

Those silvers just keep on coming.

As September and the commercial season for wild salmon harvests ebbs, fishermen are still harvesting coho salmon in the Copper and Bering rivers, with the preliminary catch total through Sept. 26 at 300,000 and 120,000 silvers respectively.

The Prince William Sound general seine fishery contributed another 78,000 silvers and the Coghill and Eshamy districts another 4,000 fish each, for a total Prince William Sound silver harvest of 506,000 silvers. The season overall has resulted in a harvest of some 29 million, 107 thousand salmon, including nearly 24 million humpies, 3.4 million chum, 1.3 million sockeye and 7,000 Chinook salmon, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game calculates in its latest preliminary catch count. While it’s been a rough year for catching red salmon, AD&G biologists said they are confident of making their king salmon escapement goal.

Cool, sunny weather in Cordova has prevailed in September, with another week or so of silver harvests expected. Copper River Seafoods and Cordova’s Alaska Wild Seafoods were still processing those September salmon catches.

Statewide, the wild salmon harvest has reached 113,133,000 fish, including more than 50 million sockeyes, nearly 40 million pink, 19.5 million chum, 3.4 million coho and 240,000 Chinook salmon.

Slightly more than 150,000 salmon were harvested in Alaska last week, including about 70 keta, 60,000 coho and 20,000 red salmon, notes Garrett Evridge of the McDowell Group in Juneau, in his weekly report for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

The year-to-date harvest of chum is 28 percent lower than 2017’s pace and similar to the five-year average, Evridge said.

The coho harvest overall is a third lower than last year and 29 percent below the five-year average.

Few additional sockeye salmon are expected as the season ebbs. ADF&G’s preliminary summary for Bristol Bay shows that this year’s harvest is the largest on record measured in terms of value and size.

Minimal pink or king salmon were harvested statewide last week.