Dept. of Fish & Game release projected salmon harvest for 2023

Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 9:26 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Dept. Fish & Game has released their 2023 salmon harvest projections for Alaska. This year the state is projected to see an increase to a harvest of around 189 million salmon. The projected harvest is slated to be nearly 30 million more fish than last years actual harvest.

State wide, the Dept. of Fish & Game is predicting the harvest will be made up of about 122 million pink salmon, 48 million sockeye salmon, 16 million chum salmon and 3 million coho salmon.

While most of the harvest will be caught in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea, the Dept. of Fish & Game included predicted harvests for the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region as well. The interior falls in this region, stretching from the Bering Sea to the Canadian border, West to East. North to South, the region spans from the Beaufort Sea on the North Slope to the northern reaches of the Alaska Range.

In the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim region, there are four salmon harvest populations accounted for. Chinook salmon in the Kuskokwim and Yukon areas plus chum salmon populations for the summer and fall in the Yukon area.

Chinook salmon in the Kuskokwim area are expected to see a total run between 114,000 and 173,000. The escapement goal for the area is between 26,000 and 104,000 fish. No commercial harvest is planned for 2023.

In the Yukon area, chinook salmon have a projected run size of between 62,000 and 104,000 with 41% of those fish having origins in Canada. There is no harvest expected for chinook in the Yukon due to the small population size. For the summer chum salmon population, the run size has been difficult to estimate to to changing conditions in the sea. The estimated run is slated to be between 280,000 and 900,000 fish. Summer escapement goals lie between 500,000 and 1.2 million fish. Fall run size is projected to be smaller, between 112,000 and 602,000 with an escapement goal between 300,000 and 600,000 fish.

Last year to statewide harvest saw over 160 million salmon with an estimated value of $720.4 million. With the projected increase for 2023, if the harvest reflects the estimated numbers, the state will likely see a small increase to overall revenue from salmon harvest. However, the number of chinook salmon in the Southeast is limited to a lower number this year which could prevent significant increases to revenue. Chinook salmon in recent years have held a value of around $5 per pound, making them one of the most valuable salmon on the market.

For more information of the projected harvest, you can view a pdf from the Dept. of Fish & Game here.