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Prince William Sound commercial fishermen took 34 million salmon

Commercial fishermen in Prince William Sound harvested 34.4 million salmon during the 2012 season, state fisheries officials said Oct. 17.

With fishing done in all districts and preliminary harvest totals tallied, the catch was 26.7 million pink, 3.7 million sockeye, 3.7 million chum, 202,000 coho and 12,000 king salmon, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game said.

For the Copper River District, the 2012 preseason commercial harvest forecast was 20,000 Chinook, 1.2 million sockeye and 281,000 coho salmon.

The commercial salmon season began in the Copper River District on May 17.

The sockeye salmon harvest of 1.9 million fish in that district was more than 1.5 times the 10-year (2002-2011) harvest average of 1.2 million.

Biologists said the commercial common property harvest of 12,000 king salmon was less than half the 10-year (2002-2011) average harvest of 28,000 fish.

The coho salmon commercial harvest of 124,000 fish was also far below the 10-year (2002-2011) average harvest of 278,000 coho salmon.

Fish and Game biologists had projected that the Miles Lake sonar site would count 684,000-1,074,000 salmon. The 2012 preliminary sonar escapement estimate was 1.3 million salmon.

Spawning escapement to Copper River delta systems based on aerial survey indices was 67,000 sockeye salmon, and was within the sustainable escapement goal range of 55,000-130,000 fish. Coho salmon spawning escapement to the Copper River Delta, based on aerial survey indices was 37,000 and was within the sustainable escapement goal range of 32,000-67,000 fish, state biologists said.

The preceding report was first published by The Cordova Times and is republished here with permission.