Commercial seine fishing boats from Southeast and the Pacific Northwest could be seen working the waters near Juneau for pink and chum salmon in recent weeks as officials announced area openings.
David Harris, assistant area management commercial fisheries biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game for the Juneau area, stated this year’s catch numbers may not be an all-time record, but they are definitely some of the highest in recent memory.
“We certainly haven’t seen these levels of effort in recent years,” he said.
Commercial seine boats could be seen working the shorelines of Admiralty Island recently and parked in Auke Bay boat harbor.
Estimate harvest numbers for all of Southeast Alaska are currently premature, Harris said, because fish have yet to return to areas further south. However, preliminary harvest numbers are in for areas of northern Southeast Alaska.
In short, Harris said, it’s developing into a significant run.
Boats have been fishing on a two-day rotating schedule, Harris said. During the last two-day opening on Monday and Tuesday, 48 boats fishing in the Juneau Management area, which includes the upper part of Chatham Strait and Icy Strait, reported a catch of over 1.5 million salmon. Those numbers include pink, coho and some sockeye, Harris said.
The next commercial purse seine opening is scheduled for today and Saturday, Harris said.