March 20, 2014
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Alaska’s salmon hatcheries set records last year. More after this –
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Alaska’s salmon catch set a record last year– and so did the salmon returns to Alaska hatcheries. The 2013 Alaska salmon catch was an all time high of 283 million fish and hatchery returns topped 110 million. The state’s annual Fisheries Enhancement report shows that those salmon contributed 36% to Alaska’s total salmon catch, valued at $182 million at the docks. That compares to 28% and $149 million in 2012.
Unlike farmed fish, which are crammed into nets or pens until they’re ready for market, Alaska salmon begin their lives in one of 35 hatcheries and are released as fingerlings to the sea. When they return home, they make up a huge part of Alaska’s total salmon catch.
By species, this accounted for 63% of the chums, 38% of pinks, 23% of Chinook salmon, 22% for cohos and 5% of Alaska’s sockeye salmon are hatchery reared..
Prince William Sound has the greatest amount of hatchery activity – 80% of the Sound’s salmon catch was hatchery produced. That includes 88% of the chum catch and 80% of the pink salmon. The hatchery catch was valued at $113 million to Prince William Sound salmon fishermen, I 68% of the total value.
Hatchery salmon accounted for 35% of Kodiak’s total salmon catch last year, nearly triple from 2012. The value was $16 million , an increase of $10 million.
At Cook Inlet, just one percent of the sockeye and pinks are hatchery produced and contributed one precent of the value at about a half million dollars.
This year nearly 52 million Alaska salmon are projected to return to their hatchery homes. Find a link to the
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, serving Alaska’s fishing communities since 1910. On the web at www.oceanbeauty.com – In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.