Invasive species update

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Far fewer Atlantic salmon are showing up in Alaska waters. Some invasive species updates after this —

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Nearly 500 Atlantic salmon were captured in Alaska waters through the 1990’s, mostly in Southeast, but as far west the Bering Sea. The fish were primarily escapees from west coast fish farms. Alaskans fear the Atlantic invaders could compete with and taint the gene pool of wild salmon stocks. But good news — few of the fish have turned up in Alaska for the past 10 years

The numbers have gone down significantly in the past 10 years. We  have to commend   fish farmers in Washington and off the coast of  British Columbia for their efforts to contain their stocks.
Tammy Davis is Invasive Species Project Leader for the state Sport fish Division. Just seven Atlantic salmon were captured since 2006, three near Petersburg and one along the Alaska Peninsula. Davis says invasive species vary by region –
Southeast is the area of most concern for Atlantic salmon captured in the last 5 years, with Petersburg being one of the hottest spots. But in South-central, Northern Pike, which were illegally introduced, are more of a concern.

Another red flag – green crabs, which are making their way up the west coast. These transplants from Europe have huge appetites for oysters and other crabs.

The furthest north population is off the coast of Vancouver island at this time. Researchers are finding there is a very good chance that crab could move up the coast to Alaska in currents or ballast water.

Ships ballast water is blamed for transferring hundreds of invasive stowaways around the world. Davis asks that anyone seeing something unusual should turn it in to an appropriate office.

People can participate by keeping us tuned in.  You know what lives on your beach and if you find something unusual, we’d love to hear about it.

For Atlantic salmon, look for spots on the gill plates and a slender, pinched tail. Notably, Alaska’s identification number for Atlantic salmon is 666 – the Biblical sign of Satan.

The fact there is a number for Atlantic salmon as 666 is pretty significant.

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – serving Alaska’s fishing communities since 1910. On the web at .. In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.