After a valiant commercial start that yielded far below the forecast in sockeyes and Chinooks, the Copper River salmon fishery has been closed pending a boost in the sonar count, leaving harvesters wondering when the next opener will come.
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 harvesters in Prince William Sound caught nearly 56 million salmon in 2019, including 47.4 million humpies, despite climate changes that promoted NOAA Fisheries to note waters were warm or warmer than The Blob years.
Prince William Sound drift gillnetters headed out for a 60-hour harvest period on Monday, Sept. 23, on the heels of a 60-hour period on Sept. 16 that brought in 16,100 coho salmon in 166 deliveries reported.
“We still haven’t gotten a lot of rain, so we’re tracking behind in escapement and the (coho) commercial harvest is below anticipated,” said Jeremy Botz, gillnet area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Cordova.
Long sought rain and cooling weather over the past week helped boost the Prince William Sound pink salmon harvest to 46,290,000 fish, and the area’s overall salmon catch to 54,525,000 fish.
“If we start getting rainfall this weekend and if continues for the next couple of weeks for these fish to spawn, we could be okay,” said Charlie Russell, seine area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Cordova.
Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association and Carrs-Safeway are promoting Copper River’s coho salmon harvest in the supermarket chain’s Anchorage stores...
Unseasonably warm water and drought conditions in streams are putting a damper on pink salmon harvests in Prince William Sound, where the year-to-date catch...
Pink salmon harvests in Prince William Sound leaped to 12 million fish through July 30, boosting the Sound’s overall harvest to over 19 million...