Alaska Predicts 2013 Sockeye Salmon Drop

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is predicting a drop in sockeye salmon harvests for 2013 by nearly 20 percent compared to the 2012 harvest, according to its salmon forecast released earlier this week.

The department’s summary of the 2012 salmon harvest, released in September, shows a total harvest of 20.6 million sockeye salmon, ranking 14th over the last 20 years and 28 percent below the average run of 37.3 million in the same period.

But 2013 won’t be any better, according to the prediction, released on Monday, which forecasts a harvest of 16.59 million. That’s a difference of just over 4 million, or 19.5 percent.

The department does not speculate on why the number is dropping, but the report said the prediction is based on an estimate of 26 million sockeye salmon returning to Bristol Bay in 2013. That’s 33 percent lower than the previous 10-year mean, and 20 percent lower than the long-term mean.

The report also indicates the predicted harvest of 16.59 million would be 40 percent lower than the previous 10-year mean harvest, and 20 lower than the long-term mean.