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Ambitious Plan Revealed For Alaskan Salmon Run

Salmonids Sustainability +2 more

ALASKA, US - A new plan for hatching and stocking programmes aims to double the Alaska salmon run by 2030.

An ambitious new plan for the next 20 years of hatchery and stocking programmes in the Kodiak area strives to double the number of salmon available through supplementary runs, according to Kodiak Daily Mirror.

Currently open for public review, the Kodiak Comprehensive Salmon Plan Phase III sets a goal of producing a supplemental salmon run of 19.6 million fish in Kodiak streams by 2030. That is well in excess of both current supplemental runs (about 7.4 million) and even natural runs, which have averaged about 16.5 million fish in recent years.

"The goals are kind of high," said Kevin Brennan, director of the nonprofit Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association (KRAA). "It surprised a lot of people when they saw the increase, but we've been able to do it in the past. That's what goals are. They're targets to shoot for."

The goals are in part based on the two previous editions of the Kodiak Comprehensive Plan, which also called for major increases to local salmon runs. At some point Kodiak's streams will reach a carrying capacity for salmon that overwhelms the available nutrients. But so far KRAA feels most Kodiak streams are not near the capacity, Mr Brennan said.

In addition to stating the supplemental fish production goals, the salmon plan lists projects that will help KRAA boost the production of Kodiak's salmon streams. It lists dozens of projects, including a new hatchery for chum salmon, dozens of stocking projects, weirs and studies.

Like other aquaculture non-profits around the state, KRAA grew out of what was once a state-controlled network of hatcheries. The non-profit has an annual budget of about $2.5 million, which it raises in part from a two per cent fish enhancement tax on local commercial salmon delivered, but mostly from cost recovery fisheries that let it sell some of the fish produced from supplementary runs.

The organisation now runs the Pillar Creek hatchery off Monashka Bay Road as well as the larger Kitoi Bay hatchery on Afognak Island and dozens of other fish enhancement projects throughout the archipelago.

The comprehensive plan is a document required by state law. It is being developed by the Kodiak Regional Planning Team, a combination of board members of KRAA and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror report adds that public comment on the plan closes at the end of January and the final document must go to the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game by 1 April.

To see a copy of the comprehensive plan, click here. Written comments can be submitted online or at the KRAA office above Tony's Bar.