Pink salmon continue to be one of the most important of the Pacific salmon for commercial fisherman in Alaska. While pink salmon have less commercial value than other salmon because of their lower oil content, commercially caught pink salmon today are canned, filleted and flash frozen, made into nuggets, and prepared into complete pre-packaged meals sold all over the world. Pink salmon are the most numerous of the salmon species caught in Alaska by commercial fisherman, usually by purse seine. The average annual Alaska harvest between 1959 and 1992 was 45.1 million pink salmon. Annual statewide commercial harvests have been around 100 million pink salmon since about 1990.
Pink salmon also contribute substantially to sport angling. From 1996 – 2006 sport fishermen in Alaska caught an average of 731,000 pink salmon each year, harvesting an annual average of 154,600 of these fish. While they’re relatively small size makes them less popular with sport anglers than other salmon species, pink salmon are excellent fish to catch. Pinks just returning to spawn will aggressively strike tackle and flies. They are also an excellent salmon for children to fish for because they’re easy to hook, and easy to land due to their smaller size. Pink salmon are also very good to eat when caught in the ocean, or just returning to spawn. Their pale flesh has a mild taste and excellent texture.
Pink salmon are dried or smoked by subsistence users in Alaska. In some areas of Alaska there are high harvests of pink salmon for subsistence purposes. In other areas, pink salmon are harvested when preferred salmon are not available.