The 2020 Alaska salmon season is off to a slow start, but it is too early to draw any conclusions, according to an economist with McDowell Group in Anchorage.
Garrett Evridge writes a weekly statewide newsletter that updates salmon harvests for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
In this week’s report, Evridge explains that in an average year less than 10 percent of the annual harvest occurs in May and June. Harvests typically expand modestly over the next two weeks before climbing sharply in early July.
Early season harvest figures are below historical averages. Prince William Sound is particularly slow with sockeye and Chinook landings down around 80 percent from the same time in 2019, and 70 percent lower than the 5-year average.
Seine harvest of keta, or dog salmon, in the sound is running counter to this by a large margin, with harvest there running roughly double the 5-year average.
Cook Inlet fishing is also slow compared to last year, but it is nearly equal to the 5-year average.
Here in Kodiak, salmon is off to a slow start. Same with fishing along with Alaska Peninsula & Aleutian Islands–Area M.
Statewide the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is projecting a harvest of 132 million salmon in 2020. That level is similar to other even-numbered years.
The pink harvest is expected to be on the lower-end of recent even-numbered years.
The projected sockeye harvest is below the 5-year average, but higher than the 10-year average.
Anticipated dog salmon and coho harvests are nearly equal to the 5-year average. And if the anticipated increase in catch comes about, the expected production of 320,000 coho, or Chinook salmon, would represent a third year of increasing catch.