Coming up short on salmon

The statewide commercial salmon catch, all species, now stands at about 161 million fish, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports.

That's a big total. But clearly, with September just around the corner, we won't reach the preseason forecast of 203 million.

One reason appears to be a shortfall of pink salmon, particularly in Prince William Sound. Returns to Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corp. hatcheries have been weaker than expected.

Here are a few salmon highlights from around the state:

• In Southeast, purse seiners have bagged 51.2 million pinks, 2.4 million chums, 500,000 sockeye and 300,000 coho. "From this year's combination of good returns, above average pink salmon weights and strong prices, the ex-vessel value of the purse seine fishery this season has now reached $100 million," Fish and Game says.

• Upper Cook Inlet's harvest of 5.1 million sockeye ranks as the area's fifth largest ever.

• Kodiak fishermen have harvested 15.5 million pink salmon, fewer than expected for this date.