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SE pink harvest higher than projected


Fishermen are ending this summer's pink salmon season 10 million over the projected harvest. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game's (ADFG) harvest forecast was 22 million pinks and fishermen hauled in 32 million.

Sitka-based ADFG biologist Dan Gray said, “Just in terms of straight numbers, we had a pretty good year.”

This year's harvest pales in comparison to last year's record-breaking pink harvest where fishermen brought in some 85.5 million pinks. But a more apt comparison would be to past even-year harvests, since harvests have historically followed a weak even-year, strong odd-year cycle.

When looked at in that regard, this years harvest comes in above average for the past five even-years.

“The 2014 harvest forecast of 22 million pink salmon is well below the recent 10-year average harvest of 41 million, but is close to the average harvest over the past five even years (24 million),” according to an ADFG report.

It is difficult to know why the pink harvest came in over projections. Gray said trying to predict pink returns is “like trying to predict the weather,” but harvests usually fall within a range of ADFG projections.

In Southeast, the bulk of this year's pinks were harvested from districts 1-4 south of Petersburg and outside areas like district 13 west of Baranof Island.

The coho harvest is also strong this year.

“We're having just a great coho run right now. Right on top of one really good one last year so that's kind of big news,” Gray said.

ADGF's projections for coho abundance and the commercial coho harvest were both above average this year, according to the salmon fishery update on ADFG's website. The projected commercial coho harvest this year is 2.32 million and the cumulative harvest so far is approaching 1.74 million.

Trollers will have the opportunity to continue fishing for coho until Sept. 30, a deadline recently extended by ADFG.

Gray said trollers have been reporting good coho catches, “all the way from Yakutat to Ketchikan.”


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