(Juneau) - The Alaska Department of Fish and Game released its preliminary estimates today for the 2009 commercial salmon harvest and for the value of that harvest to commercial fishermen. These estimates are preliminary. Estimates will be revised in 2010, upon finalization of all fish ticket data, and submission of annual processors reports which include the final prices paid for salmon in 2009.

Commercial fishermen harvested 161.7 million salmon in 2009. This is the 11th largest harvest since statehood. The 2009 harvest was 15 million fish higher than the 2008 harvest of 146 million fish, 14 million fish below the preseason forecast of 175 million fish, and 11 million fish below the most recent 10 year average (2008-1999) commercial harvest of 172 million salmon.

Value of the 2009 preliminary catch estimate, $370.1 million, is higher than the most recent 10 year average of $308 million. Preliminary 2009 statewide average prices show decreases for all species of salmon compared to final 2008 prices. The preliminary statewide average price for sockeye salmon is $.80 per pound, 4 cents less than last year. Final 2009 prices for all salmon species may be higher after any post-season adjustments and end-of-season bonuses are paid to fisherman.

Bristol Bay’s sockeye salmon harvest of 30.9 million fish was the 7th largest since statehood. The exvessel value of $127.6 million was higher than the 2008 Bristol Bay value of $116.7 million, with the average price 3 cents per pound less than 2008.

The statewide chum salmon harvest of 17.9 million fish ranks as the seventh best of all time in numbers of fish and the exvessel value of $57.4 million was well below the near record setting 2008 exvessel value of $87.1 million.

Details on the numbers and pounds of fish, average fish weight, average price per pound, and exvessel value for each of the salmon species, by area as well as statewide, can be found on the ADF&G website under “2009 Preliminary Season Summary” at: http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/genin...t/09exvesl.php .