Salmon that get their start in Alaska hatcheries enhance the wild runs and the program will again be featured during the Board of Fisheries final meeting next month in Anchorage.

A hatchery committee was formed last year to better inform the Board on operations and production.

“It’s to educate themselves about the hatchery program and if hard decisions have to be made about allocations or where fish can be released or harvested – it’s to their  benefit to understand the program and the science behind it the best they can so they can make informed decisions.”

Steve Reifenstuhl is manager of the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

On March 6th a 12 member science panel will present to invited board members and to the hatchery committee, which will hold its meeting the following day. Reifenstuhl  says most of the presentation will be from state managers on regulations and oversight and what the hatcheries produce each year.

“For the coastal communities the hatchery program is a lifesaver for many of the people who fish for a living. It gives about 25% of the salmon harvest and that supplementation is a critical component for their business model.”

Critics of the hatchery program claim that too many tiny salmon are released each year and pose threats to the purity and health of wild stocks.

The panel will update research that has been underway since 2013 on pink salmon in Prince William Sound and chums in Southeast that aims to answer those questions. The study runs through 2024.

“Why it takes so long – we are looking at two full life cycles of chum salmon which is roughly five to six years, we’re also doing two full life cycles of pink salmon which just ended this past year. Those results will take about a year to analyze and should be out by year’s end.”  

There are 25 private nonprofit hatcheries operating in Alaska that in 2018 contributed 34% of the statewide commercial salmon harvest and 30% of the dockside value.

The hatcheries are funded by a fishermen’s tax and sales of a portion of the returning fish and receive no state dollars.

You can submit comments to the Fish Board through Friday, February 21. Tune in online to both the March 6 presentation and the Alaska Hatchery Committee meeting on March 7.

Salmon that get their start in Alaska hatcheries enhance the wild runs and the program will again be featured during the Board of Fisheries final meeting next month in Anchorage.

A hatchery committee was formed last year to better inform the Board on operations and production.

“It’s to educate themselves about the hatchery program and if hard decisions have to be made about allocations or where fish can be released or harvested – it’s to their  benefit to understand the program and the science behind it the best they can so they can make informed decisions.”

Steve Reifenstuhl is manager of the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

On March 6th a 12 member science panel will present to invited board members and to the hatchery committee, which will hold its meeting the following day. Reifenstuhl  says most of the presentation will be from state managers on regulations and oversight and what the hatcheries produce each year.

“For the coastal communities the hatchery program is a lifesaver for many of the people who fish for a living. It gives about 25% of the salmon harvest and that supplementation is a critical component for their business model.”

Critics of the hatchery program claim that too many tiny salmon are released each year and pose threats to the purity and health of wild stocks.

The panel will update research that has been underway since 2013 on pink salmon in Prince William Sound and chums in Southeast that aims to answer those questions. The study runs through 2024.

“Why it takes so long – we are looking at two full life cycles of chum salmon which is roughly five to six years, we’re also doing two full life cycles of pink salmon which just ended this past year. Those results will take about a year to analyze and should be out by year’s end.”  

There are 25 private nonprofit hatcheries operating in Alaska that in 2018 contributed 34% of the statewide commercial salmon harvest and 30% of the dockside value.

The hatcheries are funded by a fishermen’s tax and sales of a portion of the returning fish and receive no state dollars.

You can submit comments to the Fish Board through Friday, February 21. Tune in online to both the March 6 presentation and the Alaska Hatchery Committee meeting on March 7.

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