ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska's commercial salmon fisheries have netted 19.9 million fish so far this year, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. In Bristol Bay, fishermen are over halfway to the state's forecast harvest. As of July 1st, fishermen have netted about 15 million fish. The state forecast a harvest of 28.5 million, with an run of 38.5 million.
"In Bristol Bay, you know which is the big fishery, right now, the big fishery in June and the first half of July is the sockeye fishery, and that is tracking fairly close to last year," said Geron Bruce, the assistant director of Commercial Fisheries for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The statewide forecast for all salmon species is 203 million fish, which is the fourth highest since the 1960's.
"So far things are going very well," said Bruce. "It is a good year, the prices are strong pretty much across the board and fishermen are catching fish, so it's looking good."
While sockeye runs remain strong, other fisheries in the state are lagging. The chum fishery in Southeast and Prince William Sound is below average, according to Bruce but on the Yukon River the chum fishery is above average.
"You know, could be something in difference in survival in the Bering Sea, compared to the Gulf of Alaska, but yeah that is a little surprising," said Bruce.