Bristol Bay’s salmon run is usually starting to taper off by mid-July, but this year’s proving an unusually late run for many districts. We talk with an expert who isn't ruling out the chance that the Bay's total run could crack 60 million.
Bristol Bay’s total run has topped 60 million fish in just three years since the '60s, according to Curry Cunningham of the University of Washington Fisheries Research Institute (FRI). That includes 61 million in 1965, the largest run on record of 67 million in 1980 and 63 million in 1995. The run had reached 56 million by July 17, 1995, just slightly ahead of where Bristol Bay was on Tuesday at 51.1 million.
Based on the final Port Moller Test Fishery results from July 11, Cunningham predicted strong catches Wednesday and Thursday and then a gradual tapering off of the salmon run. Without those daily Port Moller numbers to draw from, Cunningham said the FRI relies on catch and escapement averages from previous years to make predictions. If run timing proves to be four to five days late, here's how much of 2018's catch and escapement he predicted has yet to make it through Bristol Bay's districts:
- Egegik: 10 to 13 percent remains
- Naknek-Kvichak: 15 to 19 percent
- Ugashik: 34 to 39 percent
- Nushagak: 10 to 14 percent
- Togiak: 62 to 66 percent
Visit the website here for more details about the Fisheries Research Institute.
The #BristolBay sockeye run stands at 51-million C+E through July 17th.
Since 1963, 3 years have exceeded 60-million:
1965: 61 million
1980: 67 million
1995: 63 million
Will we see a total run record?
Records already set: Largest Nushagak District return, highest Wood R. esc. pic.twitter.com/9WT1ugaqU7
— Curry Cunningham (@CurryCunningham) July 18, 2018
At an emergency Board of Fisheries meeting on Tuesday, five of seven board members voted voted to declare an emergency to ensure further conservation measures will be taken to protect Chignik salmon stocks. There have been no commercial sockeye salmon openers in the district this year because neither the early nor the late run of reds to the Chignik River appear able to meet their escapement goals.
Finally, KDLG's Mitch Borden takes us to Aleknagik where a net hanger has spent 41 years pouring her heart and soul into helping fishermen keep their spirits up. Rather than just knotting gillnets, she leaves little love notes on her customers' corks to help fishermen through the long days and night pulling in sockeye.
Catch this program at 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. on AM 670, and online at KDLG.org. We are now tapering our fishing coverage for the summer. This week we will air shows on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then we'll be back with a final wrap up Fisheries Report on July 27. Thanks for following our show this summer!
Letters from home to your friends and family in the Bay this summer? Email us at email@example.com, or call 907-842-5281.
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