Alaska Board of Fisheries Holds Emergency Meeting on Hatchery Issues

Alaska’s Board of Fishery will meet for several hours in Anchorage, Alaska, on the afternoon of July 17 to take up emergency petitions, including one regarding additional hatchery production in Prince William Sound.

Nine Alaska outdoor sporting groups signed an emergency petition submitted by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association seeking to delay an increase in the number of pink salmon eggs in a Prince William Sound hatchery, citing concerns that the release of millions of additional hatchery-produced humpies threatens the biological integrity of wild stocks of pink salmon in Lower Cook Inlet.

The fisheries board will also consider resolutions and petitions related to sockeye salmon regulations for the Chignik, Kodiak and the Alaska Peninsula management areas, and regulations regarding drift gillnet chum fishing on the Yukon River for the Native villages of Grayling, Anvik, Shageluk and Holy Cross.

The hatchery program has support from Cordova District Fishermen United’s Jerry McCune, who wrote in a recent commentary published in Alaska newspapers that the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) manages the hatchery program to avoid affecting wild stocks. McCune noted that in 2012 ADF&G, in collaboration with other agencies, initiated a multi-year study to map the genetic structure of Prince William Sound salmon stocks, quantify straining rates and collect stream samples over multiple generations. “Once that study is complete, it will provide a never-before-available look into interactions between hatchery salmon and wild stocks,” McCune indicated.