The Alaska Department of Fish and Game recently published preliminary harvest and value figures for the 2022 Alaska Commercial Salmon Fishery. A total of 6,126 individual permit holders made commercial salmon landings statewide in 2022, a slight decrease from last year’s 6,362 permits.
“The 2022 commercial salmon fishery all species harvest was valued at approximately $720.4 million, an increase from the 2021 fishery value of $643.9 million,” Fish and Game stated.
A total of 160.7 million salmon were harvested throughout the state in 2022, a 31% decrease from the 2021 total harvest of 233.8 million fish. This decrease is largely explained by relatively low pink salmon runs for the season.
Approximately $144 million of the statewide value was from the Southeast Alaska commercial fishery.
In Southeast Alaska, commercial fishermen landed an estimated 29.58 million salmon during the 2022 season. The total included an estimated 17.55 million pink salmon, 9.38 million chum, 1.24 million coho,1.16 million sockeye and 257,103 chinook.
The commercial purse seine fleet harvests the largest overall volume of salmon in the region, with the exception of chinook salmon
Traditional common property purse seine openings ran from July 3 through Aug. 25.
The purse seine harvest of pink salmon was greatly improved from the parent year of 2020 with a harvest estimate of 14 million pink salmon, a majority of which was harvested in the southern Southeast.
“The 2022 season was a bounce-back year from the 2020 parent year for pink salmon, the driving species for the purse seine fishery,” said Phil Doherty, executive director of the Southeast Alaska Seiners Association.
“It seems like we’ve gotten into these cycles of strong odd-year returns for pink salmon, with weak even years,” Doherty said.
The overall pink salmon harvest in Southeast Alaska is estimated to 15.9 million fish when including common property drift gillnet harvest and harvest for the Annette Islands Reserve.
After a slightly increased harvest of pink salmon in 2022, Doherty said, “We are hoping we will break out that weak cycle.”
The estimated common property purse seine THA harvest is currently 1.06 million chum salmon, below the 2012–2021 average harvest of 2.1 million chum salmon.
These are preliminary harvest and value estimates, which will change as fish tickets are processed and finalized, Fish and Game said in a statement dated Oct. 27. Dollar values provided by ADF&G are based on estimated exvessel prices and do not include post-season price adjustments. The final value of the 2022 salmon fishery will be determined in 2023 after seafood processors, buyers, and direct marketers report total value paid to fishermen in 2022.