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Alaska Predicts Largest Salmon Harvest for 58 Years

JUNEAU - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game released its statewide forecast of 2008's Alaskan commercial salmon harvest. It is projected to be approximately 137 million for all salmon species, making the 2008 harvest the 18th largest harvest since 1960.

The total harvest is expected to be comprised of an estimated contribution of 672,000 Chinook salmon, 47.1 million sockeye salmon, 4.4 million coho salmon, 66 million pink salmon, and 18.7 million chum salmon.

Both the two largest pink salmon producing areas in the state, Southeast Alaska and Prince William Sound, are expected to have modest returns in 2008 and are the reasons the total Alaskan pink salmon harvest could be the smallest harvest since 1992. A pink salmon harvest in Southeast Alaska of only 20 million fish, as forecast, is just 43% of the 1995 to 2004 average for the region. The forecast for the total Alaskan pink salmon harvest is about the same as the average statewide pink salmon harvest from 1960-2007.

Contrasts

In contrast to pink salmon, the sockeye and chum salmon harvests in the state are expected to be up in 2008. Bristol Bay is anticipating one of its larger sockeye harvests in recent years and a statewide sockeye salmon harvest of 47.1 million salmon would put the 2008 harvest in the top ten sockeye harvests since 1960. A potential statewide chum salmon harvest of 18.7 million fish also falls within the top ten chum harvests since statehood.

The 2008 Chinook salmon harvest of 672,000 salmon marks an increase of 110,000 fish compared to the 2007 harvest, while the projected coho salmon harvest of 4.4 million salmon is similar to the most recent ten-year average of 4.6 million coho salmon.

In view of the moderate level of the expected 2008 salmon returns, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will not conduct a statewide salmon processing capacity survey in 2008. The agency previously conducted a processing capacity survey for Bristol Bay sockeye salmon, the results of which were released on February 11, 2008.


For the forecast document click here.

For more information visit www.cf.adfg.state

Ellen Hardy

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