Commercial fishermen caught a historic amount of fish this week in a district south of Juneau.
Statistics are still preliminary, but catch numbers for gillnetters in the Taku River-Port Snettisham district will likely set a record for the first full week of July, according to reports from the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. ADF&G is reporting that fishermen in the district caught 170,000 chum salmon from July 2 to July 8, well above the previous record for the week of 134,000 set in 2013.
So far, gillnetters have caught nearly five times as many chum salmon this year compared to last year.
That’s about 1,355,000 salmon, according to in-season statistics compiled by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. It’s a harvest nearly double the five-year average of 741,000 chum historically landed at this point in the fishing season and one that dwarfs last year’s to-date numbers of 287,000 chum.
The wealth was spread among less boats, as the new record amount of fish was caught by 21 fewer vessels than the previous record. In addition, fishermen are fetching a higher ex-vessel price this year than in 2013, raking in 75 to 80 cents per pound this year compared to an average of 60 cents per pound in 2013, according to ADF&G.
Fishermen in the Lynn Canal district north of Juneau also recorded high numbers for the week. From July 2-8, the 150 boats working the area caught a total of 470,000 chum salmon, a full 200,000 over the five-year average and more than six times the 73,000 fish caught during the same period last year.
Across all areas, gillnetters caught 897,000 chum salmon during the week, with harvests exceeding five-year averages for the week in Prince of Whales and Yakutat as well as Lynn Canal and Taku-Snettisham.