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Gulkana Hatchery, undertaking sockeye salmon production. (Photo: Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation)

Fish hatchery critical to Alaska's commercial salmon: study

Click on the flag for more information about United States UNITED STATES
Wednesday, October 06, 2010, 03:40 (GMT + 9)

The Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC) has published the results from an economic study confirming that hatchery fish are vital to the sustainability and vigor of Alaska's commercial salmon fishery, the sport fishery and to the economies of the region and the state.

The Cordova-based company runs five hatcheries in the Prince William Sound/Copper River region, generating millions of pink, chum, Coho and sockeye salmon for the common property commercial fleet, sport fishery, subsistence and personal use fishers. 

This year’s season has yielded the biggest run of pink salmon ever in the fishery’s history, told Dave Reggiani, PWSAC general manager.

The new snapshot done for PWSAC by the McDowell Group of Anchorage and Juneau found that in 2010, the firm’s salmon accounted for:

  • 30 per cent of Alaska’s salmon harvest
  • USD 317 million in total economic output
  • 2,750 jobs
  • USD 67 million in labor income for more than 30 regional economies
  • USD 1.8 million in fisheries business tax revenues to Alaska and nearly USD 1 million in revenue to other local government treasuries

"We sell a portion of the fish returning to the hatchery and that helps pay for the next generation. Our hatcheries also are critical to the sustainability of jobs, strong local economies and the continued growth and investment by processors," Reggiani said.

Markets for Alaska seafood and value-added salmon products push the demand for this kind of fish, making a reliable return even more critical, Reggiani said.

"PWSAC is driving the economy of the entire North Gulf region," commented Cordova Mayor Jim Kallander, "and aquaculture is vital to their future. The millions of pounds we ship out of here in finished and raw product, through other regional communities and through Anchorage do support jobs... we provide a lot of jobs, we put a lot of kids through college throughout Alaska and throughout the world who come here to work."

The McDowell study found that the 2010 hatchery-born fish accounted for:

•188 million lb of PWSAC pink salmon harvested by the commercial fleet

•USD 51 million PWSAC salmon harvested by the common property fisheries

•USD 196 million in the ex vessel value of PWSAC salmon 

•And although the first wholesale value of salmon is not yet available, the record ex vessel value of the 2010 harvest suggests processors will see those values rise a lot above those in 2008 when processors sold the hatchery salmon for USD 193 million

PWSAC is a private nonprofit corporation set up by the legislature in 1973 to generate hatchery-born, ocean-raised wild salmon for the commercial, sport, personal use and subsistence fisheries in the Prince William Sound region. Operations are financed via hatchery fish sales and a salmon enhancement tax paid by commercial fishers.

Related article:

- Diversity key to Bristol Bay fishery's success 

 

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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