Catches, prices are down so far
Salmon fishing has been slow going at the Copper River during two 12-hour openers with a third set for Monday.
The first opener on May 15, which marks the official start of Alaska’s salmon season, produced 1,100 Chinook salmon and 10,900 from 382 deliveries. That compares to a projected harvest of 17,600 sockeyes for the first fishery.
On Thursday, May 18, the catches ticked up a bit to 1,400 Chinook and 16,500 sockeyes. State managers had predicted a sockeye catch for that opener at 23,500 reds.
Early grounds prices were reported at $10 per pound for sockeyes and $15 for kings.
That compares to starting prices to fishermen last year at $11.50 for sockeyes and $16.50 for king salmon.
Managers are forecasting a commercial sockeye catch this year at Copper River of 987,000 fish; no forecast is set for Chinook.
Prices will tumble following the hoopla surrounding the start at Copper River as other salmon fisheries open across Alaska throughout the summer and into the fall.
State managers are predicting a total Alaska commercial salmon catch for 2023 of nearly 190 million fish, mostly due to an increase in pink salmon.
That is a 16% increase from the 163 million salmon taken in 2022 which had a dockside value of over $720 million.