PWSAC begins collection of pink salmon broodstock

Processors conclude buying PWS pinks as season draws to a close

In a clear sign of autumn approaching, the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp. (PWSAC), a private non-profit hatchery association in Cordova, has begun collecting broodstock at its pink salmon facilities.

Meanwhile pink salmon processors in Cordova said they were completing Prince William Sound purchases of salmon for the season. Silver Bay Seafoods and OBI Seafoods said they planned to end their purchases on Wednesday, and Trident Seafoods on Friday.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) biologists in Cordova say broodstock acquisition at the Wally Noerenberg and Cannery Creek hatcheries (WNH and CCH) remain behind anticipated levels.  Run entry and broodstock estimates are being assessed daily to determine time and area for fishing opportunity in coming days, with fishing schedules being adjusted via daily announcements, they said. 

Purse seine fisheries in Prince William Sound were closed on Sunday, then opened on Monday.  Although wild stock run timing was near complete, ADF&G assured harvesters there would be opportunity to harvest later-times wild stock surplus on Monday.

PWSAC on Tuesday recommended that the Northern District be closed to provide protection for CCH bound pink salmon. Broodstock acquisition at WNH has improved, but CCH continues to remain behind anticipated levels, said ADF&G finfish management biologists Jeremy Botz and Heather Scannell. Run entry and broodstock estimates were being assessed daily to determine time and area for fishing opportunity in the coming days.

ADF&G said preliminary harvest estimates for fishing periods on Monday included 74,00 pinks and 51,300 chum salmon from the Eastern District with 10 reported deliveries; 202,000 pinks with 17 reported deliveries for the Northern District; 1.8 million pinks with 169 reported deliveries from the Southwestern District; and 33,400 pinks with four reported deliveries from Montague District.


Statewide salmon harvests have now reached 97% of the pre-season forecast, following a large jump in the harvest total from last week’s update, fueled by what was likely the peak week for pink salmon harvest, said Simon Marks, a research analyst with McKinley Research Group LLS in Juneau, who is producing weekly in-season commercial salmon harvest updates on behalf of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Following weeks of trailing the 2022 (2021 for pinks) benchmark, the total 2023 harvest volume is now similar to the comparison year in estimated total volume, Marks said.

“However, this year’s harvest contains far more pink salmon and fewer higher value sockeye salmon,” he said.

Through Statistical Week 33, which ended Aug. 19, Alaska’s pink salmon harvest is up more than 20% in estimated volume from 2021, with most of the harvest occurring in Prince William Sound, Southeast, and Kodiak, Marks said. The pink salmon harvest has reached 96% of the pre-season forecast and is expected to easily exceed the forecast with several weeks of harvest remaining.

While keta harvest is slowly declining, last week’s harvest brought the season total to 99% of the total pre-season forecast, Marks said. Chinook harvests are at 73% of the pre-season forecast and are down 35% from last year to date in estimated volume. Early season coho harvests are currently at 36% of the predicted total harvest, up 40% year to date, he said.

The state’s central region still leads in overall harvests, according to the latest preliminary harvest totals posted on Tuesday by ADF&G. The Central Region has a total of 104,7 million salmon, including over 56 million pinks, 43 million sockeyes, 5.2 million chums, 113,000 cohos, and 13,000 Chinooks.

In Southeast Alaska deliveries have brought in over 50 million salmon, including 39.5 million pinks, over 9 million chums, 712,000 sockeyes, 688,000 cohos, and 152,000 Chinooks.

The Western Region had 35.2 million salmon delivered, including 27.6 million pinks, 5.5 million sockeyes, 1.8 million chums, 301,000 cohos, and 18,000 kings.

For the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region, where most commercial salmon fishing was banned because of low runs, the total catch from the Kotzebue and Norton Sound areas stood at 159,000 salmon.