While the 2012 commercial sockeye salmon fishing harvest was the ninth highest in the past 20 years, settnetters in the Upper Subdistrict experienced their lowest harvest since 1966 according to an Alaska Department of Fish and Game preliminary commercial season wrap-up.
By contrast, driftnetters harvested approximately 2.9 million sockeye, or about 93 percent of the total sockeye salmon harvest in the Upper Cook Inlet.
The total harvest of sockeye in the Upper Cook Inlet was 3.1 million fish according to the report.
“If our total sockeye harvest here was 3.1 million, a normal breakdown by who catches them would be 55 percent for the drifters and 45 percent for the setnetters,” said Pat Shields, area management biologist in the commercial division of Fish and Game.
Runs on both the Kenai and Kasilof rivers were higher than originally forecasted, however, final escapement numbers on the Kenai will not be available until the division of sportfishing gets the results of its statewide harvest survey sometime next year.
The final sport sockeye harvest on the Kenai River in 2011 was just over 313,000 fish. Robert Begich, area biologist in the sportfishing division of Fish and Game said the final results from this season would probably be similar.
The commercial division estimated more than 1.58 million sockeye to have escaped into the Kenai River.
The inriver goal on the Kenai River was increased to between 1.1 million and 1.35 million sockeye in July, due to a forecast of more than 4.6 million sockeye predicted to make a run on the river.
Rashah McChesney can be reached at email@example.com.