Southeast Fishermen Should See Rise in Pink Salmon Harvest

Joe Viechnicki, KFSK – Petersburg

State Fish and Game officials say Southeast fishermen should see a much bigger harvest of pink salmon next summer.  Andy Piston, Fish and Game’s Southeast region pink and chum salmon project leader says the department is forecasting a harvest of 55 million pinks in 2011.

Fish and Game uses two factors to produce its forecast: the trends of prior year’s harvest, as well as trawl surveys of juvenile salmon conducted in Chatham and Icy Straits by NOAA fisheries Auke Bay lab.   Piston says the forecast was bumped up this year because of the juvenile salmon data.

It’s the fifth year Fish and Game has used the NOAA fisheries salmon fry information to adjust its forecasts. Piston says the trawl surveys help detect early survival rates, when salmon mortality is highest. Fish and Game has also gone back and applied trawl data from prior years to its old forecasts and Piston says the NOAA fisheries survey helps push the state pink salmon forecast in the right direction.

Pink salmon are caught primarily by the region’s purse seine fleet.

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