Skein of chum salmon eggs      Credit: Juneau Empire


A first-ever, field-based Alaskan Aquaculture Semester in Sitka is being offered this fall to students in Alaska and across the nation.

It’s part of the University of Alaska at Southeast Fisheries Technology Program that has been preparing students for jobs throughout the fishing industry since 2009. It focuses on training in aquaculture and salmon enhancement and fisheries management.

Angie Bowers is an assistant professor with the Fish Tech Program

 “Students will come here and be able to get 13 credits of instruction with courses in salmon culture and mariculture, and also in cold water survival. And they’re going to learn how to drive boats and fix motors and tie knots and how to be safe. And they’ll also be able to do an internship and that can be based on whatever they’re interested in. So we’ll tour processors, they’re going to be able to help out at the local hatcheries, and shadow fishermen.”

There are three salmon hatcheries in the region where students will help with egg takes and learn about fish pathology and rearing before the tiny salmon head out to sea. Bowers says they also will be introduced to shellfish and kelp farming.

“Because of the timing of the semester, that’s not the typical growing season for kelp, but we will be able to identify species of kelp and we have the ability as a university to make the seed string that gets out-planted on a kelp farm. And then we will be visiting an oyster farm and we’ll try to incorporate as much of that mariculture experience as we can.”

Students also can get certified in SCUBA diving by the University program that trains scientific divers across the entire system.

Seafood Auction

The Fish Tech Program is the state university’s only one and two-year entry level applied fisheries program. Director Joel Marcus said there has been a 10-fold growth since it began 12 years ago in Ketchikan and graduates now work for agencies or organizations across Alaska and in the Lower 48. Part of the program’s success, he says, is that nearly all classes can be taken remotely.

But the Aquaculture semester will focus on being out in the field.  Only 12 students will be accepted for the fall semester that starts on August 23rd and runs through December.

Google Salmon Culture Semester to learn more –   Email Angie Bowers at