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SITKA (AP) — This season’s salmon harvest in Bristol Bay is looking to be a sizable one.
Alaska officials project the sockeye salmon run to be 51.3 million fish, not far off from last season’s return of 56.5 million.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game expects 37.6 million fish to be potentially available for commercial harvest when the bay’s salmon season begins on June 1, the Daily Sitka Sentinel reported Thursday.
The bay’s harvest of sockeye salmon last season was 37.7 million. In 2016, the catch was lower with 37.3 million and run of 51.4 million fish.
The fishing schedule for east districts and Togiak will vary weekly to balance the fishing opportunity with escapement.
The fishing times will be adjusted for the season as the run develops and sockeye salmon become defined within districts, the department said. Additional fishing times for the districts will depend on fishery performances and the strength of the run.
The Naknek-Kvichak district is projecting a run of more than 16 million sockeye for a combined expected harvest of 9 million from the Kvichak, Alagnak and Naknek rivers.
For the Egegik district, officials expect 9.1 million sockeye with the catch projected to be 7.4 million fish.
A run of nearly 3 million fish and a harvest of 2 million are expected for the Ugashik district
The Nushagak district forecasts the run to be nearly 22 million for sockeye and a catch of 18.5 million from the Wood, Igushik and Nushagak rivers.
The Togiak district is expecting 860,000 fish and a catch of 610,000.