Alaska fishing industry writer Laine Welch’s recent report about the 2016 salmon forecast features a sharp drop in total catch.
Here’s Welch via the Capital City Weekly:
The preliminary numbers released by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game call for a total catch of 161 million salmon this year; the 2015 harvest topped 268 million fish.
The shortfall stems from a projected big decrease for pink salmon. A humpie harvest forecast of 90 million would be a drop of 100 million fish from last summer.
Here’s the statewide catch breakdown for the other salmon species: for sockeye, the forecast calls for a catch just shy of 48 million, down by more than 7 million reds from last year.
A coho catch of 4.4 million would be a half million fish increase; likewise, for chum salmon, a catch of nearly 19 million would be a similar increase over last season.
For Chinook, a catch of 99,000 fish is projected for all areas except Southeast, where the harvest will be determined according to Pacific Treaty agreements with Canada. Last year’s statewide Chinook catch was 521,612.
It all adds up to fewer salmon being available to global buyers this year – and some hopeful market signs for Alaska salmon are starting to surface.