Smaller salmon harvests predicted statewide

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has released statewide forecasts for salmon, and 2016 promises fewer fish than last year’s price-deadening sockeye glut. 

Statewide, ADFG said 2016 will see a drop in the total salmon harvest, led by an especially sharp decline in pink salmon. Projections are for 161 million total salmon: 99,000 chinook in areas outside Southeast Alaska, 47.7 million sockeye, 4.4 million coho, 90.1 million pink, and 18.7 million chum.

Southeast Alaska chinook salmon harvests are set by the Pacific Salmon Commission between the U.S. and Canada, and have not yet been released.

Rivers will see a half-million more chum and coho salmon, but pinks and reds — Alaska’s money crops — will both decline.

The projected harvest of pink salmon — which run strong every other year — is about 100 million fewer than in 2015 at 190.5 million.In Prince William Sound, where pink salmon is the major harvest, the forecast is 23.4 million, less than average and a change of pace from the 2015 season that broke the 20-year record for the largest harvest with 96 million fish.

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