Sockeye salmon continued pouring into Upper Cook Inlet. Six hundred forty thousand found their way into the nets of the commercial gillnet fleet, up from three hundred ninety thousand the week before. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced that the Kenai and Kasilof rivers have exceeded escapement goals, and they have extended fishing periods for set gillnetters and opened expanded areas in the Kasilof, Kenai, and Anchor Point subdistricts to drifters. Concern over the returns to the Susitna River has led to gear restrictions on set gillnets in the Northern District. To date, ADF&G estimates a catch of a little over one point seven million salmon of all species in Upper Cook Inlet.
Lower Cook Inlet seiners and setnetters caught fewer salmon this week, delivering seven thousand sockeye and twenty three thousand pinks for a total of thirty-two thousand salmon, down from forty-four thousand last week. Overall, seiners have seen lower returns than the five-year average for sockeye, pink, and chum. Setnetters have lagged the five-year average of sockeye slightly, while catching considerably fewer pinks. The average for the opener around July 22-24, for instance, is just over two thousand pinks. In 2018, during the comparable period, setnetters caught six thousand four hundred pinks, while this year they delivered only two hundred seventy eight.
King Cove landed the most halibut of any Alaskan port this week, just under eighty thousand pounds on four deliveries. The National Marine Fisheries Service recorded a little over half a million pounds of halibut offloaded across the state, as well as about four hundred fifty thousand pounds of sablefish.
Pelagic trawlers in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands caught one hundred thirteen million pounds of pollock in the week ending July 27. The mix of species caught by Gulf of Alaska non-pelagic, or bottom, trawlers for the same week was headed by one point eight million pounds of Pacific Ocean Perch.