WOW — The eclipse's high tide broke a salmon farm net, releasing up to 305,000 of the wrong fish into the wild. https://t.co/CGMo8Q7uBu
— Dominic Holden (@dominicholden) August 22, 2017
Commercial fishing boats in Washington are scrambling to catch non-native Atlantic salmon released from a broken pen https://t.co/2kvzRVW4eY
— NPR (@NPR) August 24, 2017
The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is requesting that sport anglers and commercial fisherman report harvest of Atlantic salmon.
On August 20, 2017, a net pen holding 300,000 Atlantic salmon failed at a fish farm near Cypress Island, Washington. It is estimated that thousands of Atlantic salmon escaped into the waters of Puget Sound. Atlantic salmon are not native to the Pacific Ocean and their presence in Alaska waters is biologically undesirable. Atlantic salmon could potentially compete with native salmon and trout for spawning and rearing habitat and/or introduce pathogens. The salmon that escaped the fish farm in Washington had been treated to prevent disease transmission.
In previous decades, ADF&G has verified harvests of Atlantic salmon in Southeast Alaska, Alaska Peninsula, Prince William Sound, and Cook Inlet waters in both the commercial and sport fisheries. Atlantic salmon resemble native steelhead trout and king salmon; however, Atlantic salmon have large spots on their gill covers and may or may not have spots on their tail fins. For more detailed identification characteristics visit the ADF&G webpage for Invasive species-Atlantic salmon or Atlantic Salmon Alert (PDF 266 kB) to distinguish Atlantic salmon from native salmonid species.
Alaska sport fishing regulations allow the harvest of Atlantic salmon year-round in freshwater and saltwater with no size, bag or possession limit.
If you catch an Atlantic salmon, please do not clean it. Keep the fish whole, take a picture of the fish, note the location it was caught, get a GPS location if possible and visit the department’s webpage How to Report an Invasive Species where you can upload pictures of your catch and indicate where the fish was caught, then contact your local ADF&G office or call 1-877-INVASIV.