The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says the preliminary estimate of the exvessel value of the 2011 Alaska commercial salmon harvest is $603 million.
That’s the third most valuable harvest since 1975, behind the 1988 and 2010 harvests respectively.
Analysts expect the 2011 harvest will surpass the 2010 harvest in value, after final price per pound information is received next spring from processors, buyers, and direct marketers.
While the 176 million salmon harvested in 2011 -- ninth largest since 1960 -- fell short of the 203 million predicted, high prices for all species, especially pink and chum salmon, pushed the value of the harvest to an extraordinary level.
The pink salmon harvest, valued at over $170 million, set an all--time record.
Chum salmon fetched $93 million, the third highest value ever recorded.
Sockeye salmon were worth almost $296 million, a respectable sixth place among historic sockeye harvests.
Chinook and coho harvests, at $20 and $23 million, fell more toward the middle of their historic ranges.
Regionally, Southeast Alaska took first place with the most valuable salmon harvest in the state, worth over $203 million: $92 million from pink salmon and $65 million from chum salmon.
Bristol Bay, usually the most valuable salmon fishery in the state, came in second with a harvest worth $137 million, and Prince William Sound took third with a harvest worth $101 million, mostly from pink and sockeye salmon. Chignik and Cook Inlet also had unusually valuable fisheries, resulting from strong sockeye returns to those areas.
A table with information on harvests, average weights, and prices by species for each management area, can be found at: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/fishing/PDFs/commercial/11exvesl.pdf