The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has released preliminary estimates for the 2010 commercial salmon harvest, and the projected value of that harvest to commercial fishermen.
At the end of the 2010 salmon season, Alaska’s commercial salmon fishermen took home their largest paycheck in 18 years. The preliminary 2010 estimate indicates that the harvest generated $533.9 million, the highest exvessel value of any season since 1992. However, the big paychecks of 2010 were not spread around evenly. Just two areas, Bristol Bay and Prince William Sound, accounted for 55 percent of the total value of all salmon harvested in 2010.
Preliminary 2010 statewide average prices show increases for all species of salmon compared to final 2009 prices. The increase continues a strong recovery trend from the low salmon prices of 2002. Final 2010 prices for all salmon species may be higher yet after post-season adjustments and end-of-season bonuses are paid to fishermen.
The 168.6 million salmon harvested in 2010 is the 11th largest harvest since statehood, It is 5.6 million fish greater than the 2009 harvest of 162.9 million fish, 31.3 million fish above the preseason forecast of 137.3 million fish, and 1.1 million fish above the most recent 10 year average commercial harvest of 167.5 million salmon.
Bristol Bay’s sockeye salmon harvest of 28.6 million fish was the 11th largest since statehood. Even though the 2010 sockeye salmon catch was 2.3 million fish less than the 2009 catch, the exvessel value of $148.7 million was $4.5 million higher than the 2009 value.
Prince William Sound set a record with a harvest of 75.4 million salmon; comprising 44.5 percent of all the salmon harvested in Alaska this season. Even more impressive is the 69 million pink salmon harvest. This is a record high harvest for Prince William Sound, and accounted for 66 percent of Alaska’s total 2010 pink salmon harvest.
The statewide chum salmon harvest of 18.2 million fish ranks as the 8th best harvest since statehood. The exvessel value of $92.7 million is the second highest value for a chum salmon harvest since 1975.
The 2010 estimates are preliminary and will be revised in 2011. A revised, final report will be provided after the department receives all fish ticket data, and submission of annual processor reports that include final prices paid for salmon in 2010.
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 “2010 Preliminary Season Summary” at http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/geninfo/finfish/salmon/catchval/blusheet/10exvesl.php