November 03, 2006
Commercial fishermen harvested 141.5 million salmon in 2006. This is the 15th largest harvest since Alaska became a state 47 years ago, but represents the smallest number of salmon harvested since 2002. The 2006 harvest was 80 million fish less than the 2005 harvest, 24 million fish below the preseason forecast, and 26.5 million fish below the most recent 10 year average (2005-1996) commercial harvest of 168 million salmon.
The value, $308.8 million, of the 2006 catch is higher than the most recent 10 year average (2005-1996) of $279 million, but $25 million less than fishermen earned in 2005, a record harvest in numbers of fish. Preliminary 2006 prices are showing increases for Chinook, coho, pink, and chum salmon compared to the final 2005 prices. Only the preliminary sockeye salmon price in 2006 is below that for 2005.
Chinook salmon prices increased from $2.23 per pound in 2005 to $2.77 per pound in 2006, while coho salmon prices increased from $0.75 per pound in 2005 to $0.99 per pound in 2006. Chum salmon prices increased year-to-year by 5 cents per pound, a 19 percent increase; pink salmon prices were up by $.01 per pound. The preliminary statewide average price for sockeye salmon is $.67 per pound, 7 cents less than last year. Final 2006 prices for all salmon species may be higher after any post-season adjustments and end-of-season bonuses are paid to fisherman.
Bristol Bay's sockeye salmon harvest of 28.7 million fish was the 8th largest since 1893. The exvessel value of $91 million was slightly lower than the 2005 Bristol Bay value of $94 million. The average price paid for sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay was about 7 cents per pound less than it was in 2005. The statewide pink salmon harvest of 73 million fish marks a decrease from the all time record-setting harvest of 161 million fish in 2005 and the most recent 30 year historical average (1976-2005) of 85.7 million fish.
The statewide chum salmon harvest of 21.4 million fish ranks as the second best of all time in both numbers of fish and in the exvessel value at $56.3 million. The Norton Sound coho salmon commercial harvest of 131 thousand fish is the best harvest of all time, and demonstrates the continued improvement observed recently in these stocks.
Details on the numbers and pounds of fish, average fish weight, average price per pound, and exvessel value for each of the salmon species, by area as well as statewide, can be found on the ADF&G website under "2006 Preliminary Season Summary".
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