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State says salmon harvest was third largest on record

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - This year's salmon harvest was the third largest on record, state officials said Monday.

Commercial fishermen harvested 206.1 million salmon, which had an estimated total value of $295 million, according to preliminary figures released Monday by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Division of Commercial Fisheries.

The harvest was about 26 million fish above the preseason forecast and well above the 10-year average of 167 million fish.

This year's take marked the third year since 1960 that the number of salmon caught exceeded 200 million fish. In 1995, the harvest was 217.8 million fish, and 1997 saw 216.8 million fish harvested, Commercial Fisheries Deputy Director Geron Bruce said.

The total exvessel value of the 2005 salmon harvest was $23 million higher than in 2004, and similar to the most recent 10-year average of $294.4 million.

Preliminary estimates of the statewide average prices for chinook, coho, pink, and chum salmon are similar to last year's exvessel prices, the department said in a release.

Sockeye salmon prices increased from 60 cents per pound in 2004 to 71 cents per pound this year. Final prices for all salmon species may be higher this year after post-season adjustments and end-of-season bonuses are paid to fisherman.

Bristol Bay's sockeye salmon harvest of 24.5 million fish was 1.76 million fish lower than last year's harvest, but only slightly below the preseason forecast of 25.6 million fish. The exvessel value of $91.3 million was nearly $15 million more than the 2004 Bristol Bay sockeye salmon value, the department said.

The statewide pink salmon harvest of nearly 147 million fish was the largest on record, with an estimated total value of $52.5 million. The most recent 10-year average was $46.1 million.

The Kodiak fishery harvested nearly 30 million pink salmon, about 8.53 million more fish than last year's harvest. Prince William Sound's pink salmon catch of 45.5 million fish was a record harvest.

The Norton Sound coho salmon harvest of 85 thousand fish ranks as the fourth best of all time, and the 2005 Norton Sound commercial salmon fishery was a marked improvement over recent years.

Some fisheries, such as the salmon troll fishery, are still in progress. Revised estimates will be produced in late spring, when fish ticket data has been finalized and ADF&G has received final prices from processors' annual reports.




Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:15 AM  Pacific

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