sockeye salmon ADF&G

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game on Monday reported that the 2011 Alaska salmon catch amounted to USD 603 million, the third most valuable harvest since 1975, trailing only 1988 and 2010.

However, analysts expect the 2011 catch to surpass the 2010 harvest in value once final price per pound information is received next spring from processors, buyers and direct marketers.

While the 176 million salmon harvested this year fell shy of the 203-million-fish forecast, it topped last year’s total of 168.6 million fish. Additionally, high prices for all salmon species, especially pink and chum, pushed the value of the harvest to extraordinary levels.

Pink salmon landings totaled 115.7 million fish in 2011, up from 105.4 million in 2010. Chinook was the only other salmon species that experienced an increase from last year, at 445,000 fish, up from 365,000. Sockeye landings dropped to 39.8 million fish, compared to 40.7 million last year, while chum landings fell to 16.8 million fish, compared to 18 million, and coho landings slipped to 3.4 million, compared 3.9 million.

The pink salmon harvest was valued at more than USD 170 million, a record. The chum salmon harvest reached USD 93 million, the third highest ever. The sockeye harvest totaled USD 296 million, the sixth highest ever. And the chinook and coho harvests, at USD 20 million and USD 23 million, respectively, were more in line with their historic averages.

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