Southeast Alaska commercial salmon harvest 4 times higher than last year

Heritage Harbor in Wrangell. (Sage Smiley/KSTK)

Southeast Alaska’s salmon harvest was over four times more than last year’s, according to a preliminary report from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game released on Monday.

Commercial fishermen in Southeast harvested 58 million salmon across the five species this year: almost 7 million chum salmon; 48 million pinks; 1.5 million coho; 1.1 million sockeye and 216,000 king salmon.

That’s a marked improvement in harvest for every species. Even the embattled Southeast king salmon had a commercial harvest increase of more than 16,000 fish. In total, commercial salmon fishermen in the region caught and sold 44 million more salmon than last year.

Even taking into account the odd-year pink salmon peaks, this year’s pink salmon harvest was more than double 2019’s Southeast Alaska pink salmon catch.

The preliminary ex-vessel value of the 2021 salmon fishery in Southeast was over $132 million this year — more than double last year’s preliminary ex-vessel value for the salmon fishery. That breaks a three-year streak of dropping ex-vessel values for Southeast’s salmon fishery.

Price per pound was also up across all five species this year in Southeast, according to the preliminary report. That was true for many other salmon fisheries in the state. In Bristol Bay, the price per pound for sockeye jumped 250% from 2020’s preliminary price.

Fish & Game reports that the statewide salmon harvest — both by numbers of fish and by weight — was the third-highest on record, and this year’s statewide salmon harvest was almost double last year’s.

The statewide ex-vessel value of almost $644 million is the third-highest reported since the mid-1970s.

KSTK - Wrangell

KSTK is our partner station in Wrangell. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

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