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LIVE UPDATES: Alaska pink salmon landings remain well below forecast

Follow along to get the latest news on Alaska wild salmon season this year in one convenient round-up.

Tuesday, Sept. 18, 10:45 pm PST

Fishing slowly winding down

Alaska’s 2018 salmon season is slowly coming to an end and fishing has been slowing down, , according to Tuesday's weekly update from ASMI and the McDowell Group.

About 500,000 salmon were harvested last week.

Alaska’s 2018 pink salmon harvest now totals nearly 40 million fish, about 6 percent above 2016 levels, but well below the 2018 forecast of about 70 million.

Following two strong weeks of keta harvest, production slowed; last week saw the addition of about 120,000 fish.

Year-to-date keta volume is about a third lower than 2017 and 13 percent below the five-year average. Year-to-date coho harvest of 3.3 million fish is 33 percent lower than 2017. Two more weeks of production remain.

Few Chinook have been harvested in recent weeks. Year-to-date production is 7 percent lower than 2017.

With last week’s addition of 113,000 salmon, the 2018 sockeye harvest has topped 50 million fish.

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Tuesday, Sept. 11, 10:30 pm PST

Pinks harvesting slow as keta heats up

About two million salmon were harvested last week in Alaska (mostly keta), pushing the year to date harvest over 110 million fish, according to Tuesday's weekly update from ASMI and the McDowell Group.

Pink salmon production slowed with the addition of 390,000 fish, making the year to date volume around 40 million fish -- 6 percent higher than 2016.

Keta harvests have increased significantly in the last two weeks due to Southeast’s Crawfish Inlet production of 3 million fish. Statewide, keta volume for the year to date is 21 percent below the 2017 pace and 7 percent above the five-year average.

An additional 280,000 coho were harvested last week; about three more weeks of fishing are expected. The year to date harvest is about a quarter below the five-year average.

Meanwhile, chinook production is nearly equal to 2017 levels and 170,000 sockeye were harvested last week, primarily in Kodiak.

6af34ad33516bf99bf2c3a1a14c46ad7 Alaska salmon harvests through Sept. 12. Photo: ASMI/McDowell Group

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Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2:17 pm PST

PCC to replace PNW chinook with Alaska chinook

Washington state-based PCC Community Markets says it will stop selling all chinook salmon products caught in Northwest waters to help critically endangered orcas, the Associated Press reports.

The company said it is doing so to help the plight of the whales and the images of a mother grieving her dead calf for weeks.

PCC said Monday it won’t sell fresh, frozen and smoked salmon caught in the waters of Washington, Oregon or British Columbia. It will replace its supply with chinook from Alaska.

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Wednesday, Sept 6, 5.31 pm PST

A bad year for coho

The year-to-date harvest of Alaska salmon now totals nearly 110 million fish, a volume almost identical to 2016, according to a new update Wednesday from ASMI and the McDowell Group.

With the addition of about 800,000 salmon last week, the pink harvest totals 39 million fish, 5 percent above 2016.

Keta harvest also improved due to last week’s production of about 1.1 million fish. Record-setting harvests in Southeast’s Crawfish Inlet produced most of this volume. Farther north, Kotzebue’s chum fishery concluded with its best season on record.

The coho harvest, on the other hand, is about 25 percent lower than the five-year average, with about three to four weeks of fishing remaining.

Chinook production slowed last week, but is nearly identical to 2017 and 270,000 sockeye were harvested last week, a volume similar to previous years.

862ea5da5beec8addcfef9be480ed7ce Alaska salmon harvests through September 5. Photo: McDowell Group/ASMI

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Tuesday, Aug. 27, 6:05 pm PST

Alaska salmon fishing remains below expectations

After three months of fishing in the 2018 Alaska salmon season, year-to-date production amounted to 105 million fish, according to a new update by ASMI and the McDowell Group.

This is "nearly identical" to 2016, but is generally below expectations, Economist Garrett Evridge writes in his latest update.

Pink harvests are about 4 percent above the 2016 pace, but remain slow compared to historical even-year harvests. Southeast is 67 percent below the typical even-year harvest.

Year-to-date keta volume is about a third lower than 2017 and 10 percent below the five-year average. Production in the AYK region continues to exceed expectations, Evridge said.

About 2.3 million coho have been harvested in 2018, roughly a quarter below the five-year average, and relatively strong Chinook fishing the past two weeks has pushed the year-to-date total near the 2017 level.

The Kodiak sockeye harvest totaled about 340,000 fish last week, the highest weekly harvest this year for the region.

6e903542ae5db0ffffa8ab2252cb5b57 Alaska salmon harvests through Aug. 28. Photo: McDowell Group/ASMI

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Monday, Aug. 27, 10:10 pm PST

Seattle restaurants cutting Chinook from menus to help save orcas

The fight to help critically endangered whales is heading to the kitchen. Some of the most popular restaurants in Seattle aren't serving the orcas favorite food -- Chinook or king salmon, reports Komo News.

Restaurants participating are Vine and Spoon and Alchemy in west Seattle.

Owners said a customer brought up the plight of the whales and the images of mother orca J-35 grieving her dead calf for weeks and J-50 struggling to survive compelled them to join other restaurants taking a stand.

“It’s an easy sacrifice to make,” said Matt Mead, marketing director for Vine and Spoon. “The plight of the orcas right now is so tragic so important to maintain their food resource it was very simple and no-brainer to take off the king salmon from our menu to help our environment.”

At The Whale Wins and Walrus and Carpenter the owner said they axed Chinook salmon from their menus weeks ago.

Owners don’t think the decision will affect their bottom line. For them it’s a small sacrifice for a big cause, Komo News writes.

“You can sell your soul and do things to make money,” Mead said. “Or you can have a positive impact on your community and find ways around that and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Owners said they won’t be serving Chinook salmon indefinitely.

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Monday, Aug. 27, 9:55 pm PST

Alaska fishermen dies after boat sinks

A man fishing for salmon in the waters near Morris Cove died after the boat he was on sank and capsized, reports KTUU.

David Ray Long of Unalaska and a fishing partner were aboard the boat, according to Unalaska Police Deputy Chief Jennifer Shockley. Both men abandoned the ship as it began to take on water, but only one made it to shore.

Long was later found dead and his body recovered.

The incident took place near Morris Cove. The two local fishermen were setting a net to catch salmon when Shockley said something went wrong and they encountered problems with the net and the motor.

Long and his fishing partner swam to shore to get help, but Long didn't make it there. According to Shockley, both men were wearing life vests at the time.

Shockley said Long was an employee of seafood processor Unisea. Shockley said he was not a commercial fisherman, and was fishing recreationally at the time.

Multiple agencies responded, including the Coast Guard, Unalaska Police, and the port authority.

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Tuesday, Aug. 21, 8:45 pm PST

Alaska salmon harvest 38% lower compared to 2017

By the end of this week, 100 million salmon will have been harvested in 2018, Garrett Evridge, economist at McDowell Group, wrote in his latest update.

The year-to-date statewide salmon harvest is currently 2 percent above 2016 and 38 percent lower than last year.

Last week’s harvest of 4.6 million pinks pushed the year-to-date total to 34.5 million fish, nearly equal to 2016 and about half the typical even-year harvest. Kodiak and PWS are above the 2016 harvest pace for pinks, while the Southeast is well below.

Keta production is about 40 percent below 2017 and 16 percent lower than the five-year average.

About 1.8 million coho have been harvested so far in 2018, 43 percent below 2017’s year-to-date harvest of 3.1 million fish, Evridge said.

The year-to-date harvest of Chinook is 12 percent lower than 2017, a slight improvement from previous weeks.

Sockeye fishing continues at its slow end-of-season pace with the harvest averaging a few hundred-thousand fish per week.

fba75665a7fc55b8816093f1d81c294d Alaska salmon harvests through Aug. 21. Photo: ASMI/McDowell Group

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Wednesday, Aug. 15, 5:45 am PST

Bristol Bay wraps up 'off the charts' sockeye season

Commercial fishing in Alaska's Bristol Bay this season has not only been fantastic, but record-breaking.

"It's the largest sockeye salmon run on record, the second-largest harvest on record," Andy Wink, executive director of Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development (BBRSDA), told IntraFish.

Click here to see what others had to say about Bristol Bay's sockeye season.

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Tuesday Aug. 14, 3:38 pm PST

Pink salmon season is simply not picking up

An estimated 650,000 pink salmon were harvested in Prince William Sound (PWS) on Monday, according to ADF&G.

The cumulative PWS pink salmon harvest through Aug. 14 is a total of 19 million.

That's well below the five-year even-year average (2008–2016) cumulative PWS pink salmon harvest, which is 31.4 million fish.

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Friday Aug. 10, 3:08 pm PST

Bristol Bay promotions are popping up all over

This July BBRSDA said it partnered with five separate retailers to feature Bristol Bay branded sockeye salmon at 350 retail locations across the US.

See where the fun orange salmon brand has been featured.

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Friday, Aug. 10, 9:30 am PST

Move over Nushagak, Togiak is stepping up

Bristol Bay can now also thank the Togiak, its smallest district, for the good year its having. The district's year to date harvests have already exceeded forecasts and it's even breaking decades-old records, with the season wrapping up.

Overall, Bristol Bay's salmon harvest has already exceeded forecasts.

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Read why Togiak is having a record year.

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Tuesday, Aug. 7, 1:50 pm PST

Fraser salmon count starting, pink salmon season a little slow

The Fraser River Panel met Tuesday and adopted an early Stuart run size of 125,000, according to the BC-based Pacific Salmon Commission.

"Migration conditions for Fraser sockeye will be monitored closely over the next several weeks and appropriate management actions will be taken," the panel said.

Meanwhile pink salmon season is rolling along in Alaska.

ADF&G reports an estimated 1.5 million pink salmon were harvested in Prince William Sound (PWS) on Monday, with 318 deliveries reported.

The cumulative PWS pink salmon harvest through Aug. 6 is estimated at for a total of 17 million pink salmon.

The overall harvest is about 32 percent below the five-year even-year average (2008–2016) through August, according to ADF&G.

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Monday, Aug. 6, 10:45 am PST

Fraser River salmon season underway

Today is the start of the 2018 Fraser River Sockeye fishery in British Columbia, Canada. This year's fishery is noteworthy because it is the first time in four years the fishery has been allowed to open.

This year’s run is estimated to bring between 8.4 million to 23 million fish. In 2014, the run was 20 million fish.

Warmer water temperatures have biologists concerned.

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Wednesday, Aug. 1, 3:38 pm PST

PWS pink salmon season still on track

The Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC) began its cost recovery sales program on Wednesday and has collected approximately 43 percent of the assigned pink salmon revenue goal through July 31, said ADF&G.

So far, the PWSAC has collected 266,600 Armin F. Koernig Hatchery (AFK) fish, 90,700 Cannery Creek Hatchery (CCH) fish and 351,900 Wally Noerenberg Hatchery (WNH) fish.

PWSAC is reporting increased pink salmon run entry at WNH and AFK.

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Tuesday, July 30, 8:23 pm PST

Bristol Bay sockeye harvest strong but overall volumes lag

The total year-to-date harvesting volumes of the 2018 Alaska salmon harvest is a third lower than last year, according to an update by by Garrett Evridge, economist at McDowell Group.

About 72 million salmon have been harvested so far in 2018, down from the harvest of 110 million fish this time last year.

The statewide sockeye harvest is 7 percent lower than 2017 and 9 percent above the five-year average.

Bristol Bay sockeye volume "will be one of the highest on record," Evridge said. However, other sockeye fisheries continue to suffer.

Chignik has recorded zero landings and Southeast is 80 percent below the five-year average.

Year-to-date pink harvest is 15 percent behind 2016, due primarily to lagging harvest in Southeast. Prince William Sound (PWS) and Kodiak production is stable, the update said.

Keta harvest of 11 million fish is about 40 percent below 2017 and 14 percent behind the five-year average.

AYK keta fishing is 27 percent above the five-year average. Coho production is 52 percent below the 2017 pace, but there is two more months of steady fishing ahead.

Year-to-date chinook volume is 16 percent behind 2017, Evridge said.

fe3dca50125c3f485b46afbc54fde55c Alaska salmon harvests through July 31. Photo: McDowell Group/ASMI

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Thursday, July 26, 3:26 pm PST

Sunken vessel halts fishing

A tender operating in the Bristol Bay sockeye fishery capsized early Wednesday, forcing the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) to call for an emergency closure of the Nushagak district of the fishery.

Click here for the full story.

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Wednesday, July 25, 3:22 pm PST

Prices are up

Bristol Bay processors that include Trident and Ocean Beauty are paying more for sockeye this year than last year.

Click here to get the full story.

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Tuesday, July 24, 11:15 pm PST

Harvests a third lower than last year

Even though more than 60 million Alaska salmon have been harvested in 2018, total volume is about a third lower than 2017 and equal to 2016, primarily due to slow pink and keta fishing, according to an update by Garrett Evridge, economist at McDowell Group.

Bristol Bay’s sockeye harvest beat expectations and is nearly complete. All other species are trending behind historical levels.

The statewide sockeye harvest is 12 percent lower than 2017, but 9 percent above the five-year average.

Excluding Bristol Bay, the year-to-date sockeye harvest is half the 2017 level. Harvest of pinks are a third lower than 2016 levels, with southeast volume significantly behind expectations, he said.

Keta production is 42 percent below 2017 levels and 16 percent lower than the five-year average. Harvest of keta has been strong in the AYK region and "disappointing" in southeast, Evridge said in the ASMI update.

Coho harvest is more than 50 percent lower than the five-year average, and Chinook volume is about 20 percent below the prior year.

0ee50fe03dadaee27a23dd622fa21511 Alaska salmon harvests through July 24. Photo: McDowell Group/ASMI

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Monday, July 23, 3:47 pm PST

Pink salmon harvest in Alaska's Eastern district 38.5% below recent averages

ADF&G reported the cumulative Prince William Sound (PWS) pink salmon harvest in the Eastern District through July 22 is 8.3 million.

That amount includes common property and VFDA cost recovery fish.

The five-year even-year average (2008–2016) for the cumulative PWS pink salmon harvest (cost recovery and CPF fish) through July 22 is 13.5 million fish.

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Monday, July 23 9:30 am PST

Chinese processors continue to struggle

Processors in China are struggling to cope with the unsteady supplies of wild salmon coming from Alaska, one exec told IntraFish.

Click here to see what he had to say.

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Thursday, July 19, 3:48 pm PST

PWS pink salmon season (still) slow

ADF&G reports An estimated 590,000 pink salmon were harvested in eastern PWS on Wednesday, July 18.

The cumulative PWS pink salmon harvest in the eastern district through July 18 is estimated at 4.3 million CPF and 1.1 million VFDA cost recovery fish, for a total of 5.4 million fish.

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Tuesday, July 17, 10:04 pm PST

Harvesting 'continues to disappoint'

"The harvest pace for Alaska salmon continues to disappoint," Garrett Evridge, economist at McDowell Group, said in ASMI's latest update.

Compared to the prior year (with adjustments for pinks), year-to-date total harvest is a third lower.

Sockeye production is about a quarter behind 2017, but about 10 percent higher than the five-year average.

Bristol Bay’s strong sockeye production contrasts sharply with "extremely slow harvests in nearly all other Alaska sockeye fisheries."

Keta production is about 40 percent lower than 2017 and 10 percent behind the five-year average. Harvest of Keta in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region and Prince William Sound have been strong, however, Southeast and Kodiak production remains below expectations, Evridge said.

"While it is still early, harvest of pinks is lagging expectations, down 65 percent from the same week in 2016. Coho and Chinook fishing remains slow," he added.

032318659ce11051b1110383a1fc57cb Alaska salmon harvest as of July 17, 2018. Photo: McDowell Group


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Tuesday, July 17, 2:32 pm PST

Fraser River sockeye forecast at nearly 14 million

Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) told IntraFish Tuesday the forecast range for Fraser River sockeye in 2018 is 5 million to 36 million, with a median forecast of 13.9 million.

"The median forecast means there is a 50 percent chance returns will come in below that level," Lara Sloan, a spokeswoman with the DFO, said. "However, there is a high degree of uncertainty in the forecast due to warm ocean conditions when these fish first went to sea in 2016, conditions that have been associated with returns at the low end of the forecast range in most recent years."

Sloan said there is inherent uncertainty in the annual Fraser River sockeye forecast.

"The warm Pacific Ocean 'blob' and El Nino of 2016, as well as other anomalous ocean conditions, continues to impact the marine food web and the marine survival of Pacific salmon," she said.

--Rachel Sapin

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Monday, July 16, 3:45 pm PST

Bristol Bay's west side seeing a surge

On Bristol Bay's west side in the the Nushagak District, the harvest was 592,000 sockeye salmon yesterday for a total harvest of 20.4 million, according to ADF&G.

In Ugashik on the east side of Bristol Bay, there were 160,000 salmon harvested through July 15, making that total catch at 864,000 to date.

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Friday, July 13, 3:18 pm PST

Pink salmon off to a slow start in Prince William Sound

Valdez Fisheries Development Association has so far collected 67.7 percent of the assigned pink salmon revenue goal through July 12, ADF&G reports.

Valdez Fisheries Development Association reports cost recovery for pink salmon harvested in Port Valdez on Friday resulted in an average weight of 3.94 pounds per fish and with 31 percent being female.

The data does not show a "consistent schedule of openings at this time," ADF&G reports.

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Wednesday, July 11, 11:13 pm PST

EU buyers are getting nervous

So far the wild salmon season in Alaska has not exactly panned out in line with forecasts, and the lack of fish being landed is making both suppliers and buyers "nervous."

Max Ropner, species director on wild salmon for New England Seafood, told IntraFish while there are some volumes of fish, they are coming quite late compared with the past.

“The general feeling we are getting at the moment is everyone is still slightly nervous, no-one is committing to prices or the volumes available and everyone is jockeying for position.”

Click here to read the full story.

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Wednesday, July 11, 3:50 pm PST

While Bristol Bay is up, Alaska is down

The year-to-date harvest of Alaska salmon is about a third lower than 2017 and about 40 percent below the adjusted five-year average, according to the latest data from Garrett Evridge, an economist with the McDowell Group. That's mainly due to weak returns from the state's Prince William Sound, Chignik and Kodiak.

ADF&G said as of July 10 salmon harvests on Bristol Bay's east side in the Egegik was 300,000 fish, with 2.1 million fish caught to date.

There have been 411,000 fish harvested in the Ugashik through July 10, and ADF&G is waiting before it opens the district to more commercial fishing.

On Bristol Bay's west side, there were 1.5 million fish harvested through July 10, making that total catch 16.4 million to date.

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Tuesday, July 10, 3:31 pm PST

Bristol Bay's west side is on the up and up

The Nushagak District on Bristol Bay's West side is chugging along. Its harvest was 866,000 yesterday for a total harvest of 15 million, according to ADF&G.

On the east side, things are looking up for some districts.

In the Egegik, the salmon harvest on July 9 was 120,000 fish. That brings the number of fish caught in that district to 1.8 million.

The Ugashik is still lagging, according to ADF&G, with a cumulative harvest of 411,000 through July 9, and no plans to open it for commercial harvesting yet this week.

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Monday, July 9, 3:19 pm PST

Catches are ramping up

The Nushagak District Harvest was 880,000 as of July 8 for a total harvest of 14.1 million fish so far.

In Egegik, the harvest on July 8 was 59,000 fish. Through July 8, that district's cumulative harvest was 1.7 million fish.

The Ugashik district saw 411,000 fish caught to date through July 8, and ADF&G officials said the fishery is not suitable at the moment for more commercial fishing.

The seasons could not be more different for Bristol Bay and Copper River.

While Copper River saw one of its worst commercial fishing seasons in half a century, Bristol Bay so far is setting records for some of the best catches ever, the Anchorage Daily News reports.


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Thursday, July 5, 6:50 pm PST

Alaska salmon harvests pick up slightly

Alaska’s salmon harvests are about 25 percent lower than the same period in 2017, an improvement from last week, according to an update by Garrett Evridge, economisst at McDownell Group.

Although sockeye harvests to date are 20 percent lower than the year prior, last week’s volume of 6.7 million fish was a record.

Harvest in Bristol Bay’s Nushagak District is the primary source of this increased volume, while other sockeye fisheries Kodiak, PWS, Yakutat, and Southeast reported a slow run.

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Monday, July 2, 1:50 pm PST

Bristol Bay Eastside: An update

ADF&G reports Bristol Bay's Egekik District harvested 157,000 fish through July 1, bringing the catch so far to 762,000.

In the Ugashik District harvests amounted to 44,000 fish through the same time period, totaling 181,000 fish so far.

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Monday, July 2, 8:30 am PST

Ain't no salmon count high enough

Bristol Bay catches are rolling in, and some districts are seeing new records for fish harvested.

ADF&G reports that as of June 30, the harvest in the Nushagak District reached 1.77 million sockeye salmon, a new record, according to the department.

The harvest for the Naknek-Kvichak District on June 30 was 13,000 sockeye, bringing the catch so far to 117,000. In the Egegik District the harvest on June 30 was 218,000 fish, bringing the catch so far to 605,000 fish.

The Ugashik harvest on June 30 was 55,000 fish, bring that catch up to 137,000.

Those numbers will be good news for the state's seafood industry, which plans to double salmon exports to Brazil.

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Thursday, June 28, 1:30 pm PST

Another night (another catch)

Though still early in the season, Alaska salmon harvests are lagging when compared to previous years due to low sockeye harvests in Prince William Sound, Kodiak and Chignik.

That's according to a Thursday update from the McDowell Group on the season.

The group said Bristol Bay's season has been off to a strong start however, with strong harvests already in the Nushagak District.

ADF&G reported 103,000 fish harvested in the Egegik through June 27, bringing the catch so far to 278,000. The harvest in the Ugashik through June 27 was 17,000, bringing the catch so far to 23,000.

Pink and king harvests are slow against previous years while keta volume is slightly ahead of 2017.

d766e4b24fed2d396ea953de7bbfef32 Photo: McDowell Group

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Tuesday, June 26, 1:30 pm PST

This must be the place

Alaska's Egegik-district fishermen harvested 94,000 fish through June 25, bringing the catch so far this season to 123,000, according to the latest data from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

With Copper River winding down and a lack of fresh wild Alaska salmon on the market, Bristol Bay's economic leaders are predicting higher salmon prices than last year.

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Monday, June 25, 4:03 pm PST

Picking up

The sockeye harvest in Sunday’s opening in Bristol Bay’s Westside reached 475,000 fish, bringing the catch so far this season to a total harvest in Bristol Bay of over 1.2 million fish.

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Monday, June 25, 4:00 pm PST

Let the sockeye roll

Alaska's Egegik district saw fish harvests at 29,000 through June 24, with escapements ramping up to a cumulative 86,000 through the same time period, according to the latest data from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Paul Salomone, an area management biologist with ADF&G, told IntraFish those numbers aren't necessarily indicative of a strong season for the Egegik.

But they do mean the district can continue to have commercial openers, which is more than one could say about the Copper River right now.

"It is a day by day thing," he said. "We have enough comfort to offer commercial opportunity today and tomorrow."

--Rachel Sapin

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Friday, June 22, 3:15 pm PST

Where have all the sockeye gone?

Alaska's Lynn Canal is seeing strong chum numbers following its first commercial opening at a little over 65,000, but sockeye catches are down from last year, KHNS FM reports.

ADF&G told the radio station wild sockeyes were very scarce for this opener, with around 150 fish caught so far.

They say the low sockeye numbers are on par with other areas around the state, and may be the result of low water levels in the area.

--Rachel Sapin

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Friday, June 22, 6:30 am PST

More seafood cargo capacity

Alaska Air Cargo is now utilizing previously unused space in 71 Airbus jets to boost its cargo capability.

The jets came from Alaska's takeover of Virgin America, which did not offer a cargo service, and will be used to transport seafood and items.

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Thursday, June 21, 5.30 pm PST

New hope for sockeye

Though the Bristol Bay season is in its very beginnings, Wednesday saw the Alaska salmon season's first promising catch.

Harvesters brought in 125,000 sockeye in the Nushagak district through the first commercial driftnet opening, bringing the cumulative catch to 141,815 fish so far.

Click here to read the full story.

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Wednesday, June 20, 1:30 am PST

Watch, wait and wonder

The bad news just keeps coming: the Copper River district in Prince William Sound remains closed, according to an announcement Wednesday by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. As the end of June closes in, it's looking more and more like this season's catch may be far below projections.

Copper River's woes have made one Bristol Bay fisherman optimistic about the fishery's season with demand set to outstrip supply, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

The Alaska Journal of Commerce went as far as to mention the "C" word in it headline of a story posted Wednesday: "Copper River crash will cost commercial fishermen millions."

There have been only three openings this season so far and ADFG Area Management Biologist Jeremy Botz, told the newspaper, it would take a significant improvement for the fishery to re-open.

“(There’s) not anything to support a commercial fishery at this time."

Botz said there’s a chance the commercial fishery could re-open if the numbers improved, but that wasn’t looking likely in the near-term. Typically, the sockeye fishery winds down in late July.

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Monday, June 18, 11:00 am PST

Chums running strong; sockeye lagging

Through the first weeks of the 2018 salmon season, the pace of the sockeye harvest is lagging behind the YTD totals of 2017 while the chum (keta) harvest is higher, the McDowell Group said Friday in an update.

d40400984911379218480d1249c9c4eb Photo: McDowell Group

The total statewide sockeye harvest of 300,000 fish is 76 percent behind last year’s pace; chum harvests of 269,000 fish represents double last year's pace.

Alaska is anticipating a strong salmon harvest in 2018 for all species except kings. Pink salmon harvest of a forecasted 69.7 million fish in 2018 is nearly double the extremely slow 2016 season.

Forecasted 2018 sockeye harvest of about 51.6 million fish is slightly lower than 2017’s harvest, but higher than the historical average.

The forecasted 2018 harvest of 21.0 million chum is lower than the record-breaking 2017 season, but historically strong. An anticipated coho harvest of 4.9 million fish in 2018 is comparable to 2017’s harvest. The king salmon harvest of 218,000 fish in 2018 is expected to be among the lowest on record, and weaker than the difficult 2017 season.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2:43 pm PST

The Blob

Well, apparently there is a mass of water roaming the Pacific Ocean known as the 'Blob' that could be partly to blame for the Copper River's historically dismal salmon season.

That's according to a recent story by the Associated Press, where a University of Washington researcher (who also coined the 2013 phenomenon) said changing water temperatures could affect the salmon harvest in the Copper River.

ADF&G released more Copper River data Wednesday that showed the sonar count is the eighth lowest on record with 178,693 fish (salmon and king) swimming through the river, whereas a minimum of 276,897 fish were projected by this date.

Some distributors such as the Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico haven't even received the fish.

They said recently in their blog: "We are now three weeks into the Copper River salmon season but have not yet brought in any. Why? Because the fish are not there."

Meanwhile in Russia, whose wild salmon season kicked off June 1, scientists are forecasting a huge 492,000 metric ton catch, up nearly 40 percent from the previous year.

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Wednesday, June 6, 1:52 pm PST

Copper River sees one of the lowest harvests in 50 years

ADF&G reported today the cumulative commercial harvest so far this year is the second lowest harvest to date in the last 50 years. The cumulative sonar count through June 5 is 95,515 fish, whereas a minimum of 175,559 fish were projected by this date.

Since the season started in May, the Copper River has only been open for three commercial fishing periods.

For now the Copper River remains closed to commercial fishing, according to ADF&G.

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Tuesday, June 5, 9:15 am PST

50 ways to eat Copper River Salmon

With prices so high for Copper River salmon, an $85 (€73) ticket to taste several courses of the sought-after fish doesn't sound too bad right now.

The iconic Seattle restaurant Ivar's is devoting an entire night, and most of a menu, to it.

On June 8 Ivar's will present a multi-course Copper River salmon dinner menu with special pairings of Oregon Pinots from the Ponzi Vineyards.

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Monday, June 4, 5:35 am PST

Cruise line snaps up Copper River salmon

Cruise Line Holland America was among the first to get its hands on Copper River salmon for its vessel, the Eurodam.

“Every year, salmon lovers and foodies eagerly await the arrival of the prized Copper River king salmon, and we’re excited to give our guests the opportunity to enjoy a delicacy they might not have access to at home or never had the opportunity to try,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America.

“We’re dedicated to giving our guests an authentic experience reflecting the destinations we are visiting, and an important part of that is the local cuisine.”

Holland America’s culinary team created several dishes featuring Copper River king salmon:

  • Pan-fried with ponzu miso dressing, served with scallions, crispy garlic and toasted pine nuts. Seared with saffron beurre blanc creamed leeks, North Sea shrimp, hazelnut relish and micro greens.
  • Roasted with hazelnut brown butter, served with tarragon fennel confit, braised endives and ghoa cress.Baked with orange-dill gremolata, served with heirloom carrots, red beets, crispy kale and lemon butter.
  • Broiled with smoked lobster cream, served with brioche, arugula salad, porcini and shaved truffle.
  • Seared with dill-crusted coating with North Sea shrimp white wine butter sauce, served with saffron risotto, squid, clams and fennel.
  • And baked with lemon confit and red wine reduction, served with leek, cilantro, cayenne and collard greens.

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Sunday, June 3, 11:11 pm PST

Can't buy me Copper River salmon

Seriously, folks it's still very expensive for anyone who doesn't have some cash to burn.

Retailers are finally getting Copper River salmon, and the prices are still sky high for both king and sockeyes.

Click here to read the full story.

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Thursday, May 31, 1:00 pm PST

Sitting on the dock of Bristol Bay

Subsistence fishermen around Bristol Bay are beginning to see salmon, Alaska's KTOO Public Media reports.

Expectations are high this year. The 2018 Bristol Bay sockeye catch could reach 37.59 million fish, while the total run could be 51.28 million fish, according to forecasts by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG).

Alaska fishermen in general should expect to get paid well this season. The Cordova Times reports that the lower harvest forecasts and no backlog from last season in cold storages is making the salmon sought-after. And all of that paired with a devalued US dollar is making Alaska salmon "more appealing to foreign customers."

A 2017 survey of Bristol Bay processors showed a continue shift away from canned products, with large gains seen in the headed and gutted (H&G) frozen and fillet categories.

Opening day is set for tomorrow.

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Wednesday, May 30, 3:20 pm PST

Sockeye run seeing a pickup

Preliminary numbers are in from Jeremy Botz with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for the 12-hour commercial fishing period on May 28. He told IntraFish harvests for the 12-hour period were 3,000 king and 20,000 sockeye salmon. In terms of sockeye salmon, that's a 417 percent increase from the previous Monday opener, when only 3,870 were caught.

Sockeyes are still however well below the projected harvest of 97,600 sockeye salmon for this period.

Sockeye prices have been high at retailers due to low run numbers. Copper River sockeye was spotted yesterday at US grocery chain QFC for $34.99 (€30).

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Tuesday, May 29, 3:20 pm PST

Living on a prayer (for more sockeyes)

"It’s an extremely weird year," Chris Garr, executive chef at Ivar's, told IntraFish Tuesday about his experience with this year's Copper River season so far.

Garr said sockeyes have been small and too expensive overall, so he has mostly purchased king salmon from Copper River vendors.

"I’m going to wait until there is a flood of sockeyes," he said. "I can’t spend $40 (€35) per pound for sockeye when we’re paying $48 ($42) per pound for kings."

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Tuesday, May 29, 11:00 am PST

Low salmon counts continue

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is continuing to report low salmon counts with just 5,685 counted swimming up the Copper River as of May 25. That's 24 percent below the count estimated for this time period, which was a minimum of 24,211 fish.

Jeremy Botz, regional manager for ADF&G in Cordova, told IntraFish Tuesday the run appears to be later-timed this year, and that it also appears to be smaller than last year.

"It hasn't ramped up to meet our anticipated harvest numbers for the period," he said.

US grocery chain Pavillions is promoting Copper River salmon in one of its California stores through May 29, but has not specified a price on it.

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Wednesday, May 23, 1:11 pm PST

Nudged up

Official numbers are in from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for Monday's Copper River salmon opening. They nudged up slightly during the 12-hour period to 1,440 kings and 3,870 sockeye salmon. The numbers still fall well below the projected harvest of 79,400 sockeye salmon for this period.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2:15 pm PST

Sockeye catch continues low streak

Preliminary catch numbers are in from Monday's Copper River salmon opening and they (still) aren't great. Harvests from the 12-hour period are 1,300 kings and 3,400 sockeye salmon, according to Jeremy Botz with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

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Friday, May 18, 3:30 pm PST

Sockeye catch low, prices high

The catch numbers are in from Thursday's Copper River salmon opening and they aren't great.

Preliminary harvest estimates from the 12-hour period are 2,800 kings and 1,900 sockeye salmon harvested, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported Friday afternoon.

This compares to a projected harvest of 38,600 sockeye salmon for this period, verifying what fishermen and processors were reporting from the grounds. During the opening fishing period of 2017, fishermen landed 1,900 kings and 36,000 sockeye.

The light catch is resulting in sky-high prices for the the first 64,000 pounds of fish delivered into Seattle by Alaska Air Cargo.

Reports from Copper River are that grounds prices from Thursday's first opening are running in the $13 (€11) to $14 (€11.90) per pound range for kings and $9.50 (€8.1) to $10 (€8.5) a pound for sockeye.

Click here for more details.

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Friday, May 18, 12:00 pm PST

Photo Gallery: First Copper River salmon land in Seattle

The first 16,000 pounds of fresh Copper River salmon arrived in Seattle on an Alaska Airlines plane Friday morning.

Before the day is done, another 48,000 pounds are expected to land in the Emerald City.

Click here to see our photo gallery from the arrival in Seattle.

--Rachel Sapin

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Friday, May 18 7:00 am PST

First fish arrives in Seattle

The first Copper River salmon just arrived in Seattle, marking the official start of the Copper River feeding frenzy.

More than 16,000 pounds of fresh Copper River salmon arrived in Seattle on a fish-filled Alaska Airlines plane touching down at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport shortly after 6:30 am Friday.

In total, Alaska Air Cargo has three more flights scheduled throughout the day to bring in an additional 48,000 pounds of salmon to market.

"Alaska Airlines plays a significant role in supporting the Alaska seafood industry, which is recognized worldwide for its sustainable fishing practices," said Jason Berry, managing director at Alaska Air Cargo. "Our Cargo employees are working around the clock to ensure we deliver the first catch of the coveted wild Copper River salmon to market, often within 24 hours of being pulled from the water."

Every year Alaska Air Cargo partners with the state of Alaska's three largest seafood processors, Trident Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, and Copper River Seafoods to bring the coveted fish to Seattle and Anchorage, Alaska, where it will then be delivered to restaurants and grocery stores throughout the Pacific Northwest, and across the country.

-------------

Friday, May 18, 6:00 am PST

Buyers scramble to secure first Copper River shipments

Buyers eager to get their hands on Copper River salmon better be careful what they wish for: this year's prices have reached record levels.

Reports from Copper River from Thursday's first opening were that prices were running on average from $13 (€11) to $14 (€11.90) per pound range for kings and $9.50 (€8.10) to $10 (€8.50) a pound for sockeye, with some reports even higher than that.

Click here to read the full story.

--Rachel Sapin

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Friday, May 18, 5:19 am PST

Low sockeye numbers

While no official numbers are in from yesterday's Copper River opening, indications are that the sockeye catch during the opening will be below what was anticipated, Jeremy Botz, biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, told IntraFish.

King catch should be near anticipated numbers.

--John Fiorillo

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Thursday, May 17, 1:50 pm PST

Why sockeye is the go-to fish for Ivar's

"The flavor of it is beautiful. It has that real wild taste to it, and it just cooks up so nice," Chris Garr, executive chef at Ivar's, told IntraFish. Garr said the Seattle area restaurant chain should be getting sockeye or king salmon by 4 or 5 pm Friday, depending on the catch.

He said Ivar's buys product from Pacific Seafood as well as Northern Fish Company and Ocean Beauty Seafood.

"What I’ve been telling my vendors is I’ll sell myself out to whomever has the best price," he said.

"The first weekend is usually pretty tough," he said. "Prices are extremely high. Last year, the king catch was extremely low. Literally the kings went up for auction. I went with all sockeyes last year."

He said the restaurant looks for fresh fish whenever possible.

--Rachel Sapin

--------

Thursday, May 17, 12:20 pm PST

The waiting is the hardest part

Inquiring buyers want to know...how much are those first prized Copper River sockeye going to set them back.

They'll be ridiculous, of course, but the prices quickly fall back down to earth within the first week. Here's a look at historical ex-vessel trends:

----------

Thursday, May 17, 10:40 am PST

Fisherman describes early fishing as slow

Bill Webber, owner of Paradigm Shift Seafoods, posted a video from his vessel fishing the opening of the Copper River season Thursday morning.

He described the early fishing as "grim," with the kings caught so far in the 10-pound range and sockeye in the 4-pound range.

Webber said he is waiting for flood tide to come in, which will hopefully bring more fish with it.

--------------------------------

Thursday, May 17, 10:15 am PST

Coho is king at Duke's Chowder House

Duke Moscrip, owner of iconic Seattle mini-chain Duke's Chowder House, told IntraFish he looks forward to the Copper River salmon season for the coho.

He said the way to get the best-tasting coho is to bleed, process and freeze the fish within 48 hours of catching them.

"We have coho all year round that is so incredible," he said. "A lot of people think frozen is not a good idea, they’re incorrect. If you do it the way we have it done, you can’t believe how good it is consistently."

He said the restaurant also vies for king salmon, but that 99 percent of the 150,000 pounds he buys from Copper River is coho because his customers love it, and it's more reliable.

"You can have it every day and it’s fresh tasting every day," he said.

--Rachel Sapin.

-----------------------------

Wednesday, May 16, 1:10 pm PST

Fishermen, Ocean Beauty, Trident and others
help buy sonar system to count Copper River fish

Commercial fishermen and processors in Alaska are partnering with the state’s fishery managers to purchase new sonar technology that could improve in-season escapement data in the Copper River.

The upgraded sonar equipment will help managers count the number of fish – particularly king salmon – returning to the Copper River. This season the sonar site will be operating a new sonar array as a pilot program.

During the 2017 field season, three Adaptive Resolution Imaging Sonars (ARIS), two high-frequency units and one low-frequency unit were operated at the Miles Lake site on the banks of the Copper River.

An initial assessment of the 2017 data found that ARIS echograms could be used in-season to estimate fish lengths, providing a basis for counting large king salmon.

“This season’s hardware updates will likely produce higher quality images that will allow us to measure fish lengths, and eventually differentiate between large Chinook salmon and smaller salmon," said Stacy Vega, a biologist for Copper River/Prince William Sound.

A similar ARIS arrangement successfully identifies king salmon in the Kenai River allowing for in-season counting. The counting of king salmon in the Copper River system is difficult due to the turbidity and velocity of the river.

The addition of the new sonar was made possible by a one-time collaboration between the state of Alaska and the seafood industry.

Members of the Copper River Prince William Sound Marketing Association contributed $75,000 (€63,529) to the purchase of the ARIS. Cordova District Fishermen United, the fisherman’s advocacy organization for the Prince William Sound area, contributed $7,000 (€5,929) to the purchase from the gillnet division of tits membership. Copper River Seafoods, North Pacific, Ocean Beauty, Trident Seafoods each came to the purchase with $6,375 (€5,399), while Alaska Wild Seafood contributed $2,500 (€2,117).

-----------------------------

Wednesday, May 16, 5:30 am PST

Here we go ... Copper River!

We are now just hours from the official opening of the Alaska salmon season, with the kick off of the Copper River salmon fishery.

The weather experts are calling for rain and some wind, but not enough to delay the 7 a.m. start of the fishery on Thursday.

"We're planning on a regular start," Christa Hoover, executive director of the Copper River Prince William Sound Marketing Association, told IntraFish on Tuesday.

Pre-season forecasts are calling for a Copper River harvest of 19,000 kings and 942,000 sockeye salmon. By comparison, the 2017 pre-season commercial harvest forecast for the Copper River District was 4,000 kings, 889,000 sockeye, and 207,000 coho salmon.

The final 2017 Copper River sockeye salmon harvest of 570,000 was 60 percent less than the previous 10-year harvest average of 1.43 million and 36 percent below forecast. The average sockeye salmon weight of 5.5 pounds was the third smallest on record.

And while it is way too early to determine where Alaska salmon prices will settle this season, fishermen in 2017 were paid an average of $1.13 (€0.96) per pound for sockeye

Fishermen received an average of $5.86 (€5) for kings, $1.19 (€1) for coho, $0.32 (€0.27) for pinks and chum salmon averaged $0.66 (€0.56) a pound.

The total value of the 2017 salmon fishery was nearly $680 million (€577.4 million) for Alaska's fishermen, a nearly 67 percent increase over 2016.

The 2018 total statewide Alaska salmon commercial harvest projection of 147.3 million fish, which includes an expected 99,000 king salmon in areas outside Southeast Alaska, 51.6 million sockeye, 4.9 million coho, 69.7 million pink, and 21 million chum salmon.

The projected pink salmon harvest is about 72 million fewer than harvested in 2017; the sockeye salmon harvest is expected to be about 2 million fewer than were harvested in 2017; the coho salmon harvest is expected to be about 301,000 fewer than were harvested in 2017; and the chum salmon harvest is expected to be about 4 million fewer than were harvested in 2017.

--John Fiorillo

-------------------------------------

Monday, April 16, 2:45 pm PST

Bristol Bay opening day set for June 1

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) said Thursday the commercial salmon season in Bristol Bay will open June 1.

Read more here.

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Friday, April 13, 7:10 am PST

US West Coast king salmon quota cut by more than half

This week the Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted ocean salmon season recommendations for commercial fishermen along most of the US West Coast that include significantly reduced king salmon quotas.

Read more here.

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Wednesday, April 4, 3:30 pm PST

New study shows economic toll of closing US West Coast salmon fisheries

A closure last year of the commercial ocean salmon troll fishery off the US West Coast is estimated to have cost $5.8 million (€4.7 million) to $8.9 million (€7.3 million) in lost income for fishermen, with the loss of 200 to 330 jobs, according to a new model that determines the cost of fisheries closures based on the choices fishermen make.

Read more here.

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Tuesday, March 27, 10 am PST

Alaska salmon harvest forecast down 34% for 2018

The Alaska 2018 salmon harvest is projected at 149 million fish, down 34 percent from last year’s 226 million due to a projected shortfall of pink salmon returns.

Read more here.

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Saturday, March 12, 8 am PST

US frozen pink salmon exports start off year with a bang

The United States exported 8,412 metric tons of salmon worth $42.7 million (€34.7 million) through January – up 16.7 percent in volume and 31 percent in value from this time last year.

Read more here.

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Tuesday, February 6, 8:55 am PST

Russian researchers raise salmon harvest outlook on record pink projections

Russian fishery researchers are forecasting a huge 2018 wild salmon season in the Far East, with a projected 492,000 metric-ton catch on record pink salmon runs.

The catch would be 12.3 percent up from the 2016 level, and up 39 percent compared with the previous year's harvest.

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Tuesday, January 23, 12:05 pm PST

ADF&G forecasts average salmon runs in Prince William Sound

Salmon runs in Prince William Sound are predicted to be average or below average in 2018.

Read more here.

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December 6, 12 pm PST

University predicts smaller 2018 Bristol Bay salmon run

The University of Washington Alaska Salmon Program predicted a total Bristol Bay return of 47.6 million salmon for 2018, 7 percent less than the 51.3 million prediction from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G).

Read more about this forecast here.

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November 16, 7 am PST

Bristol Bay salmon forecast calls for another big harvest

The 2018 Bristol Bay sockeye catch could reach 37.59 million fish, while the total run could be 51.28 million fish, according to a new forecast released Wednesday by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG).

The total run if it reaches 51.28 million fish would be 18 percent greater than the most recent 10-year average of Bristol Bay runs (42.71 million) and 41 percent greater than the long-term mean of 33.78 million fish.

Read more about the run forecast here.

Check out our live updates blog of last year's Alaska salmon season

Read More

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