It’s been a strange year for the pink salmon fishery around Kodiak Island. According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game Management Biologist James Jackson, the fishery has been a different story depending on which side of the island you look at.
— (Salmon 1 39 sec "Yeah, it’s been one of those … 17 million if we’re lucky.")
Two weeks ago Jackson said the fishery would have to see catches of a million fish a day to reach the 30-million projection. It turns there wasn’t even a single million-fish day in August, though two days, the 4th and the 17th, saw catches of over 800,000. The average catch for August has been just over 550,000 per day.
According to historic run timing, Jackson says the pink season is about 90 percent over. However, despite the lower-than-expected return, he said it will still be about average for an odd-numbered year:
— (Salmon 2 44 sec "The reality of … been just a strange year.")
Jackson said around Afognak and the West Side there have been extensive closures, but the East Side, Alitak and around Kodiak City the fishery has been open pretty much continuously for the month of August.
— (Salmon 3 19 sec "Yeah a lot of guys who … a very long time.")
He said the return to Kitoi Bay has been surprisingly low:
— (Salmon 4 19 sec "Kitoi was a pretty big … two, two-and-a-half.")
Despite the lopsided returns, Jackson says he expects all the systems to make their escapement goals this summer. He said return projections are based on brood year escapement and what environmental conditions are like over the winter:
— (Salmon 5 32 sec "Of course, after the fish leave … what the ocean produces.")
Through Tuesday, the total pink salmon harvest was 15-and-a-quarter-million, with the East and Northeast Kodiak district accounting for more than half the total.
A salmon run coming in a little short is not a condition exclusive to Kodiak this year. In Bristol Bay, the sockeye fishery was 8-million below the projected harvest, and Prince William Sound may wind up with a little more than half its projection. The Southeast pink fishery is strong, but still might not make its preseason estimate of 55-million.