The Alaska Department of Fish and Game projected that there will be about 160.6 million salmon in the commercial harvest in 2022 — approximately 75 million fewer fish than were caught in 2021, according to the ADF&G’s 2022 run forecast report that was released on Tuesday.
This loss will come from the pink salmon harvest, according to the Department of Fish and Game. In 2021, 161.4 million pinks were caught, making up 82% of the total salmon harvest, the department reports. This year, the department forecasted that there will be harvests of 310,000 Chinook salmon, 74 million sockeye salmon, 3.6 million coho salmon, 15.4 million chum salmon and 67.2 million pink salmon — over 94 million less than there were in the 2021 season.
The Department of Fish and Game forecasts that there will be a pink salmon run in Kodiak of 19.4 million fish in 2022, which is almost 7 million fewer salmon than was harvested in 2021.
However, there is room for variability, especially when it comes to forecasting pink salmon runs, according to the report. Since pink salmon have a two-year life cycle, their runs are based on the population of the prior generation, according to the ADF&G’s forecast report. There is one exception: the Department of Fish and Game works with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a national regulatory body that manages fisheries in federal waters, works together in the Southeast Region to conduct surveys and keeps track of juvenile out migration, according to the report. Those numbers are used for predicting the harvests, the report states.
The Department of Fish and Game forecasted an increase in runs for every other salmon species in the commercial fisheries. The department is anticipating another record-breaking year for sockeye salmon catches, it reported.
There was a sockeye salmon run of 67.7 million fish in Bristol Bay last year, which was a record. During the 2021 season, 42 million sockets were harvested, which was the third largest harvest on record, according to the Department of Fish and Game.
Now, the department is forecasting over 75 million sockeye salmon returning to Bristol Bay and that just under 60 million fish will be harvested there in 2022, according to the report.