ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says the commercial salmon harvest in the Copper River is so far the second lowest in 50 years.

KTUU-TV reports the state fish count shows nearly 155,000 sockeye salmon have passed the counter on the river from mid-May to Sunday.

According to the department, more than 320,000 sockeye salmon swam up the river during the same period last year.

Department commercial fisheries spokesperson Art Nelson says the warmer ocean temperatures may be contributing to the decline. He says one theory is that years of unusually warm water could be “leading to the poor productivity, poor feed for the salmon and then poor salmon productivity.”

Nelson says the returns for most species are currently low, which may drive salmon prices higher across the state.

Information from: KTUU-TV,

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