Growing salmon eggs in Alaska

Growing salmon eggs in Alaska

Fish Radio
 March 20, 2013

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch … Hatchery salmon make a huge contribution to Alaska’s salmon catch.  More on the 2012 season after this  —

The At-sea Processors Association’s Alaska pollock fishing companies fund marine research programs at Alaska’s universities to improve our understanding of the environment, and to promote conservation of our ocean resources.  Learn more about APA’s conservation efforts at

 See who’s catching all that Alaska seafood and their favorite recipes at a new micro site from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute – find it at

 Home grown salmon are Alaska’s largest crop – but don’t ever refer to it as farming. Whereas farmed fish are crammed into closed net 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 the fish return home, they make up a huge part of Alaska’s total salmon catch. 

 The state’s annual Fisheries Enhancement report shows that last year’s catches of 44 million hatchery fish were valued at $149 million dollars at the docks, or  28% of the total value of the Alaska salmon fishery, down from 37% in 2011. Last year,   tatewide hatchery fish made up  67% of the chum catch, 36% for pinks, 19% of the coho salmon , 17%  were Chinook and 6% sockeye.

 Prince William Sound has the most hatchery activity, accounting for 80% of the total catch last year of which  88% were chums and 84% were pinks. Forty-four percent of the Sound’s sockeye catch were from hatcheries and 5% of the cohos. In all, those fish  were valued at $71 million, 63% of the Sound’s salmon value. 

 Southeast ranks second for hatchery fish, which accounted for 27% of last year’s salmon catch. 84% of the fish were chums and the overall value of hatchery fish was $72 million, or 42% of the region’s value.

 At Kodiak, hatchery fish made up 12.5% of the total salmon catch of mostly chums and cohos. Hatchery fish contributed $6 million, or 13% of the landed value. At Cook Inlet, just one percent of the sockeye catch is from hatchery.

 There are no commercial salmon hatcheries further west except for one sport fish program located in Fairbanks.

 This year more than 65 million hatchery produced fish are projected to return to Alaska.  Learn more about Alaska’s salmon fisheries next month at ComFish –   

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods.  Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.