Study Says Not Yet To A Hypothetical Southeast Alaska Hatchery King Salmon-Only Fishery

Coast Alaska with an interesting report about whether Southeast Alaska can support a hatchery Chinook salmon fishery. Here are some reasons why it’s not per the story:

In theory, a hatchery-only fishery – or what’s called a ‘mark selective fishery’ – could provide more sport fishing opportunities. All types of fishing for wild kings are highly restricted because of a treaty that the U.S. has with Canada. It sets harvest limits to make sure that both countries get kings every year. And hatchery king salmon don’t count toward the U.S. treaty allocation.

But the study found that a lot would have to be in place for such a fishery to work. For starters, not all hatchery king salmon in the region are marked. Marked kings have their adipose fin removed, making them easily identifiable. In fact, even a few wild kings in Southeast are also marked that swim to spawn in transboundary rivers leading into Canada. So, in order for a hatchery-only fishery to work, there would have to be buy-in from all the region’s hatcheries. But Beaudreau said some just aren’t set up for marking all of their fish right now.

“The more fish you mark, the more successful you can be in actually implementing a mark-selected fishery,” she said. “It would also require hatcheries to support the idea of mass marking for a mark-selected fishery. And that’s not the case presently.”