PWS humpy catch nears 25M as statewide commercial salmon harvest tops 100M

Those humpies just kept coming, and the harvest of cohos rose as well. As of Tuesday, the commercial salmon catch for Prince William Sound topped 31 million fish, while statewide preliminary data compiled by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) showed over 100 million fish delivered to processors.

Prince William Sound deliveries include a total to date of 24.9 million pink salmon, plus 4.5 million chums, 1.9 million sockeyes, some 9,000 cohos, and 8,000 Chinooks. The preliminary totals showed a catch of 3.9 million more pinks, 200,000 more chums, and 5,000 more cohos over the past week, while harvests of Chinooks and sockeyes remained unmoved.

Nearly half of the total statewide salmon harvest forecast has been caught through Statistical Week 30, said Sam Friedman, the fisheries analyst who produces the weekly reports for McKinley Research Group during the annual commercial salmon season on behalf of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. The total harvest in estimated metric tons is down about 15% year-over-year (2021 for pinks), although up slightly from the five-year-average harvest to date.

The sockeye salmon harvest usually ends at about this time of year, Friedman said. With 97% of the forecast harvested, the sockeye total will likely end up near the pre-season forecast, he said.

While the rate of the humpy harvest may have dipped this past week, the harvest remains up 5% in estimated weight from 2023. Pink salmon are compared to previous odd or even years because of the salmon’s unique two-year life cycle.

Last week Russia’s federal fishery agency announced wild salmon harvests are up 46% year-to-date from 2021.


“Because most of Russia’s salmon harvest is pink salmon, this will mean more pink salmon on the world market this year if Russia’s harvests continue to exceed expectations,” said Friedman. “The Russian pre-season forecast this year was 375,000 metric tons of pink salmon, nearly twice the Alaska pink salmon forecast.”

The Alaska catches of keta and Chinook salmon meanwhile have been down in recent weeks. The Chinook harvest is down 25% in estimated weight from 2022, while the keta harvest is up 70% from a year ago, but still relatively low by historical standards, Friedman said.

The state’s central region again led with an overall year-to-date harvest of over 73 million fish, including 42.5 million sockeyes, nearly 26 million pinks, 4.9 million chums, 63,000 cohos, and 13,000 Chinooks.

That included a total of 39 million fish from Bristol Bay, predominantly sockeyes, and 2.9 million fish from Cook Inlet, including 1.7 million sockeyes, just over one million pinks, 111,000 chums, and 50,000 cohos.

Southeast Alaska region processors to date have received a harvest of 17.4 million fish, including 10.7 million pinks, 5.8 million chums, 389,000 sockeyes, 294,000 cohos, and 135,000 Chinooks.

In the Westward region, the overall catch rose to nearly 10 million fish, up from 7.2 million salmon, with deliveries to processors from the Alaska Peninsula, Chignik and the Kodiak area. The preliminary total stands at 4.4 million pinks, 4.1 million sockeyes, 1.2 million chums, 161,000 cohos, and 12,000 Chinooks.

Harvesters in the Alaska Peninsula brought in 4.5 million salmon, including 2.3 million salmon, 1.5 million pinks, 573,000 chums, 86,000 cohos, and 4,000 Chinooks. For the Chignik Area the catch has reached 797,000 fish, including 668,000 sockeyes, 104,000 pinks, 16,000 chums, and 9,000 cohos. For Kodiak the catch to date added up to 4.6 million salmon, including 2.7 million pinks, 1.1 million sockeyes, 605,000 chums, 66,000 coho, and 8,000 kings.

In the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region, where much of commercial fishing is banned for 2023 because of low return runs, the chum catch in Kotzebue rose from 20,000 to 41,000 chums. In Norton Sound harvesters now have a total preliminary harvest of 4,000 pinks and 13,000 chums.