Last year, nearly 31 million salmon that got their start in Alaska hatcheries were caught in commercial fisheries, or 27% of the statewide harvest of mostly pinks and chums.. The dockside value of $69 million made up 23% of the total salmon value.

Overall, the 2020 hatchery return was 34 million fish fell short of the forecast of 52 million fish.

That’s according to the annual salmon enhancement report by the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game.

There are 30 hatcheries producing salmon in Alaska, of which 26 are operated by private, nonprofits funded primarily from saled of a portion of the returns, called cost recovery. Eleven are state owned and operated  at no cost to the state. There also are two state-run sport fish hatcheries, one research hatchery operated by NOAA Fisheries , and one hatchery operated by the Metlakatla Indian tribe.

At Prince William Sound, where six hatcheries operate, about 15 million hatchery salmon were harvested in 2020, accounting for 70% of the total commercial  catch for the region. The fish were worth worth about $27 million at the docks, or 67% of the total value for fisehrmen. That included 90% of the chum, 70% of the pinks and 72% of the sockeye salmon.

At Southeast Alaska, 14 hatcheries operate at northern and southern regions. Last year, under four million hatchery salmon were caught, accounting for 45% of the total harvest and 52% of the value to fishermen of $18 million. Hatcheries contributed 96% of the region’s chums and 58% of cohos.

Two hatcheries operate at Kodiak where last year nearly 5 million hatchery salmon were harvested worth roughly $5 million, or 11% of the total dockside value. Nearly all of those fish were pinks.

The three hatcheries at Cook Inlet produced just under 200,000 salmon valued at $585,000 or 6.9% of the region’s total to fishermen. Sockeye salmon contributed the most at $421,000, followed by pink salmon at $164,000.

Alaska’s hatcheries released 1.7 billion juvenile salmon in 2020 and are projecting a return this year of nearly 66 million fish.

 

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