Salmon fishing prediction looks bleak for Alaska inlet

(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)

KENAI, Alaska — The sockeye salmon harvest for commercial fishing businesses in Alaska’s Upper Cook Inlet will probably be the lowest in 15 years, according to the state’s Department of Fish and Game.

The department’s outlook predicts a total run of 4 million fish to all stream systems in the inlet, the Peninsula Clarion reported this week.

Commercial fishing operations are projected to harvest about 1.7 million fish.

Last year’s total sockeye salmon harvest was about 3.3 million despite a prediction of 5.3 million.

Salmon prices will likely rise because of decreased sockeye catches and lower farmed salmon production in Chile because of sea lice and an algal bloom, said seafood project manager Andy Wink of the McDowell Group, which conducts seafood industry market research.

“I suspect there’s a lot of buyers out there who would like to reproduce what they’ve done in the last several years, but there’s probably not going to be as much going around this year,” Wink said.

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