Alaska’s 2020 salmon season comes to a close

Alaska’s salmon harvest has topped 110 million and the total for the 2020 season will likely be aound 112 million fish. That’s roughly 85 percent of the preseason forecast.

Plugs of pinks continued to come from Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula regions. Prince William Sound barely squeaked by to overtake Kodiak for pink catches with both regions exceeding 21 million fish.  Statewide the pink salmon catch of 56.7 million is 93 percent of what managers predicted.

A few thousand sockeyes trickled into the westward region over the week bringing the Alaska total to over 45 million, of which more than 39 million came from Bristol Bay.  In all, the statewide sockeye catch is 94 percent of the season’s forecast, but about 15 percent below the 10-year average.

The statewide chum salmon catch of just 6.3 million is off by 67 percent from expectations; coho catches of less than 1.7 million are off by 52 percent.

Improved Chinook salmon production at Southeast of 190,000 kings is 9 percent ahead of 2019. That’s about the only good news for Southeast salmon this summer. Pink salmon catches of 5.6 million were the lowest since 1976 and the 5th lowest since statehood. The region’s chum salmon harvest of less than 1.5 million is the lowest since 1990. In all, Southeast’s salmon catch totals less than 11 million fish.

Cook Inlet also had a dismal salmon catch this summer totaling fewer than 3.8 million fish, mostly pinks.Norton Sound wrapped up its salmon season last weekend with the third-highest coho catch ever but a poor fishery otherwise.

Likewise, at Kotzebue a catch of just 150,000 chums for 69 fishermen was the lowest since 2007.

A wrap up of the 2020 salmon season should be out by ADF&G later this month with fishery values to follow in October.

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