Commercial fishermen are expected to catch nearly 175 million salmon this year, a 20 percent jump from last season's 146 million.
The reason for the big increase: a larger return of pink salmon, say biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
If the forecast proves accurate, this year’s salmon haul will be the 11th largest since statehood, the department says.
Here’s a forecast breakdown by region and species.
And here’s the Fish and Game press release:
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
March 17, 2009
Alaska Statewide Salmon Forecast for 2009
JUNEAU – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announces that the statewide commercial salmon harvest in 2009 is projected to total 174.8 million salmon of all species. This is an increase compared to 2008, with nearly all of this increase expected to come from improved pink salmon catches. Overall, pink and chum salmon harvests are expected to be higher than in 2008, while the Chinook, sockeye, and coho salmon harvests are expected to be similar to the actual harvests taken in 2008. This forecast would represent the 11th largest harvest since 1960, if achieved.
The forecasted harvests for individual species in 2009 are 249,000 Chinook salmon, 38.1 million sockeye salmon, 4.6 million coho salmon, 113.1 million pink salmon, and 18.5 million chum salmon. The 2009 sockeye salmon harvest of 38.1 million salmon would be among the top twenty sockeye salmon harvests since 1960; and the 2009 chum salmon harvest of 18.5 million fish would be the sixth largest chum salmon harvest since 1960. The 2009 coho salmon harvest of 4.6 million salmon is similar to the most recent ten-year average of 4.5 million coho salmon.
The estimated 2009 Chinook salmon harvest of 249,000 fish does not include an estimate for Southeast Alaska. The allowable catch of Chinook salmon in Southeast Alaska is determined by the Pacific Salmon Commission and the Commission has not published the quota for 2009. Release of the 2009 Chinook quota for Southeast Alaska is expected in late March or early April.
These forecasts are based on quantitative projections of next year’s salmon run using information on previous spawning levels, smolt outmigrations, returns of sibling age classes, and recent survival rates observed for hatchery releases.
Look for inseason harvest information, postseason statistics, and other information about salmon in Alaska on the World Wide Web at http:///www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/.