Purse seine and drift gillnet harvests of salmon continue in earnest this week in Prince William Sound, where the overall harvest has jumped from 11.2 million to 20.5 million salmon in a week, including some 17.6 million humpies.
Harvests of over 9 million pink salmon over the past week have pushed Alaska’s yearly total to over 25 million fish, including upwards of 12 million humpies caught in Prince William Sound.
Wednesday, Aug. 5, Cordova City Council voted unanimously to encourage the state to declare an economic disaster in Cordova.
Commercial fisheries statewide are shifting from sockeye to pink salmon, in a challenging year which has seen the cumulative commercial harvest in Prince William Sound as the fourth lowest harvest to date in 50 years.
Most Alaskans are surprised to learn that seafood is by far Alaska’s top export, the source of the state’s largest manufacturing base and its No. 1 private employer. More surprising is that those simple-to-find facts are not included in the official trade sheet for Alaska provided by the office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Commercial harvesters were granted another shot at the Copper River salmon, with a 12-hour opener on Thursday, July 16, in an effort to boost their estimated preliminary catch of sockeyes above the 94,631 counted to date.
Commercial harvesters got another shot at the Copper River on Monday, June 6, and delivered to processors some 13,663 fish, the bulk of them sockeyes.
In what has proven a tough year so far for local harvesters, 109 fishermen came together to donate 255 sockeye salmon for Cordova’s elders in the community’s annual Senior Salmon Day.
Commercial drift gillnetters and purse seiners delivered an estimated 1.3 million salmon to processors in the Prince William Sound area through Wednesday, July 1, including some 468,739 sockeyes, in a season that has been a real slow starter.
Commercial harvests of Alaska’s iconic salmon are generally below expectation so far this season, particularly in the Copper River, where the preliminary catch to date includes 81,228 reds, 5,815 Chinooks and 1,296 chums.