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Bigger red salmon run forecast for Alaska's Cook Inlet next summer

Cordova Times
State fisheries biologists predict increases in salmon runs next summer, although they note that this year's harvests did not match up with predictions. Loren Holmes photo

State fisheries research biologists forecast a run of 6.1 million sockeye salmon into Upper Cook Inlet in next summer, with a harvest of 4.3 million reds.

That's good news for commercial and sport fishermen, who landed 3.5 million sockeyes this year, compared to the preseason harvest forecast of 4.9 million fish.

And the forecasted harvest is 600,000 fish above the 20-year average harvest of 3.7 million reds by all user groups.

State biologists, who released their forecast in mid-November, noted that the runs to the Kenai, Kasilof, Susitna and Crescent rivers and Fish Creek this year did not match up with forecasts.

The 2013 total runs were:

• 3.5 million fish to the Kenai River (4.4 million forecast);

• 1.1 million to the Kasilof (903,000 forecast);

• 461,000 to the Susitna River (363,000 forecast);

• 80,000 to the Crescent River (110,000 forecast), and

• 25,000 to Fish Creek (61,000 forecast).

For the coming season, the run forecast for the Kenai River is approximately 3.8 million reds, equal to the 20-year average run, with salmon aged 1 to 3 typically comprising about 57 percent of that run.

The sockeye salmon run forecast for the Kasilof River is 1.1 million fish, 11 percent greater than the 20-year average run of 953,000 fish, with age 1-3 salmon typically comprising about 34 percent of the run.

For the Susitna River, the forecast is for 264,000 fish, 39 percent less than the seven-year average run of 430,000 fish. And for the Crescent River the forecast of 92,000 reds is 17 percent less than the 20-year average run, biologists said.

The preceding article originally appeared in The Cordova Times, and is reprinted here with permission. You can reach Cordova Times Staff with comments and suggestions at cdvtimes(at)thecordovatimes.com