Salmon season is stocked with sockeyes
The 2014 Alaska salmon season is being dominated by red salmon, or sockeye, landings that have already eclipsed last year’s total and are blowing away pre-season forecasts.
According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, this year’s sockeye haul is already 30 percent higher than last year’s total, some 37.9 million fish. Bristol Bay is the leading region for landings, accounting for 28.3 million fish.
Surprisingly, the chinook, or king, salmon haul is ahead of this year’s forecast of a meager 298,000 fish. Already 373,000 kings have found their way into fishermen’s nets, led by the Southeast Alaska region, which accounts for 334,000 fish landed.
The coho (silver) catch, however, has only reached 10 percent of the season forecast of 4.3 million fish and the chum harvest is at 28 percent of the forecast of 19.8 million fish. After last year’s banner harvest of pink salmon, only 23.8 million pinks have been caught, which is 32 percent of the season forecast and 11 percent of last year’s catch. Pink salmon landings should pick up as the summer wears on.
Halibut landings through 17 July total 9.5 million pounds (H&G), which is 57 percent of the season’s quota. The Gulf of Alaska is the leading region for landings, accounting for 48 percent of the state’s total. The season ends on 7 November.
Black cod, or sablefish, landings are strong in the western Gulf of Alaska, as 6.4 million pounds (round weight) have been harvested through 17 July. The statewide total on that date was 15.7 million pounds, 66 percent of the season quota.