Fish and game forecast average 2014 pink harvest
Southeast Alaska’s 2013 pink salmon harvest estimates are predicted to be around 22 million fish.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports those numbers to be below the recent 10-year average of around 41 million pinks but close to average of the past five even years.
Andy Piston, ADFG research biologist, said through most of the 1990s and early 2000s the odd and even year harvests weren’t much different. But in 2006 their poor survivals changed the cycle of the fish.
“Even year pinks were way below average,” Piston said. “Ever since then we’ve had this big dramatic odd and even year cycle.”
ADFG make harvest estimates based on harvest trends and 2013 juvenile pink salmon abundance data from NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Fisheries Science Center Auke Bay Laboratories.
Because pinks are more abundant than other species it’s easier for NOAA researchers to make harvest estimates and once the fish reach the ocean their mortality rates drop significantly compared to when they’re in fresh water.
“Catches of juvenile pink salmon are highly correlated to the catch of the next year,” Piston said.
Fishermen harvested from Southeast a record breaking 85.5 million pink salmon this summer. The previous record was 72 million in 1999.