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Modern salmon hatcheries in Alaska were established in five regions of the state in the 1970s, when wild runs of salmon were at record low levels. Initially conceived as a state-run system, the Alaska program has evolved in the private sector and is centered on private, non-profit, regional aquaculture associations run by fishermen and other stakeholders. Presently, Alaska has 33 production hatcheries (14 hatcheries have closed). Many release over 100 million young salmon annually; between 1.3 and 1.4 billion are released in total. In 1975, hatcheries produced fewer than 20,000 adult salmon. During the 1990s, the Alaska program produced 27-54 million adult salmon annually, which accounted for 14-37% of the annual common-property salmon harvest. It is second in size and productivity to the Japanese ocean ranching program (approximately 2 billion fry released annually, 50-70 million salmon harvested). Pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) and chum salmon (O. keta), which are species released into the oceanic environment as postlarvae, comprise >80% of the hatchery production. Protection of wild-salmon fitness and rigorous evaluation of hatchery contribution to fisheries have been emphasized throughout the development of the Alaska ocean ranching program. Strict regulation by public-agency geneticists, pathologists, and fishery managers of hatchery siting, hatchery capacity, and transport of salmon between streams has reduced risks to wild-salmon fitness. Recent implementation of mass-marking technology has enabled harvest managers to protect wild salmon in mixed-stock fisheries from unsustainable fishing mortality. Both hatchery and wild stocks have experienced high marine survivals since the late 1970s, resulting in record salmon harvests through the 1990s.
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CHAPTER 20
PRODUCTIVITY OF ALASKA’S SALMON HATCHERY
OCEAN RANCHING PROGRAM AND MANAGEMENT
OF BIOLOGICAL RISKS TO WILD PACIFIC SALMON
WILLIAM W. SMOKER, PH.D.
1
AND WILLIAM R. HEARD, M.S.
2
1
University of Alaska Fairbanks, Juneau Center, School of Fisheries & Ocean Science, 11120 Glacier
Highway, Juneau, Alaska 99801, USA (E-mail: Bill.Smoker@uaf.edu)
2
NOAA=NMFS-Auke Bay Laboratory, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, 11305 Glacier Highway,
Juneau, Alaska 99801, USA
Abstract: Modern salmon hatcheries in Alaska were established in five regions of the state in
the 1970s, when wild runs of salmon were at record low levels. Initially conceived as a
state-run system, the Alaska program has evolved in the private sector and is centered
on private, non-profit, regional aquaculture associations run by fishermen and other
stakeholders. Presently, Alaska has 33 production hatcheries (14 hatcheries have
closed). Many release over 100 million young salmon annually; between 1.3 and 1.4
billion are released in total. In 1975, hatcheries produced fewer than 20,000 adult
salmon. During the 1990s, the Alaska program produced 27–54 million adult salmon
annually, which accounted for 14–37% of the annual common-property salmon
harvest. It is second in size and productivity to the Japanese ocean ranching program
(approximately 2 billion fry released annually, 50–70 million salmon harvested). Pink
salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) and chum salmon (O. keta), which are species
released into the oceanic environment as postlarvae, comprise >80% of the hatchery
production. Protection of wild-salmon fitness and rigorous evaluation of hatchery
contribution to fisheries have been emphasized throughout the development of the
Alaska ocean ranching program. Strict regulation by public-agency geneticists,
pathologists, and fishery managers of hatchery siting, hatchery capacity, and trans-
port of salmon between streams has reduced risks to wild-salmon fitness. Recent
implementation of mass-marking technology has enabled harvest managers to pro-
tect wild salmon in mixed-stock fisheries from unsustainable fishing mortality. Both
hatchery and wild stocks have experienced high marine survivals since the late 1970s,
resulting in record salmon harvests through the 1990s.
Key words: aquaculture, ecological risk, environment, genetic risk, harvest risk, regional private
non-profit fishery enhancement corporation, salmonids, stock enhancement, USA
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361
Theresa M. Bert (ed.), Ecological and Genetic Implications of Aquaculture Activities, 361–381.
ß2007 Springer.
1. INTRODUCTION
Salmon runs in Alaska and throughout the North Pacific Ocean have fluctu-
ated greatly between decadal periods of high and low abundances over the past
century (Figure 1). These often dramatic shifts in numbers of returning fish,
once thought to be primarily caused by variations in harvest intensity, number
of salmon escaping the fisheries to spawn, and various survival factors in
freshwater habitats, are now recognized also to reflect cyclic climatic and
environmental fluctuations affecting survival during the marine life phases of
salmon (e.g., reviewed by Heard, 1994; Hare et al., 1999).
After reaching record high harvest levels during the 1940s, when over 100
million salmon were caught annually, a long decline began that reached record
low levels in the 1960s. This was shortly after Alaska attained statehood. Many
observers held that a long period of pre-statehood federal mismanagement,
characterized by the widespread use of fish traps, was responsible for chronic
overharvest and shortages in spawning populations, and thus for the decline
(Cooley, 1963). Runs began to recover briefly under management by the new
State of Alaska, only to take a new downturn. By 1973 and 1974, only 22
million salmon were caught commercially (Figure 1). Entire regional fisheries
were closed during about one year in five, despite more than a decade of careful
harvest regulation. The lack of a sustainable harvest was attributed to the
0
50
100
150
200
250
1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990
Catch (Millions)
Figure 1. Alaska commercial salmon harvest, 1878–1999, in millions of fish. Data source: Alaska
Department of Fish and Game, Juneau, Alaska, USA
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362 William W. Smoker and William R. Heard
frequent severity of winter weather and its destruction of embryonic and larval
salmon (Koernig and Noerenberg, 1976; Smoker et al., 2000).
During this period of low returns, the Alaska legislature, in 1971, created the
Division of Fisheries Rehabilitation, Enhancement, and Development (FRED)
within the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G; Alaska Statutes
16.05 et seq.). The primary responsibilities of the new division were as follows:
1. develop a comprehensive, coordinated state plan for the orderly rehabilita-
tion, enhancement, and development of the state’s fisheries;
2. encourage investment by private enterprise in the technological development
and economic utilization of fisheries resources;
3. encourage, sponsor, and conduct research on the basic problems inhibiting
the sound development of hatcheries.
In 1974, the Legislature enacted a program of salmon fishery enhancement in the
private sector by enabling the creation of private non-profit corporations that
would produce salmon that could be harvestable by common-property fisheries
and supported by part of the annual salmon runs (Alaska Statutes 16.10 et seq.;
reviewed by Smoker et al., 2000). In bare outline, these corporations were
envisioned as being similar to the local fishing cooperatives that form the basis
of salmon resource management, including salmon hatcheries, in Japan
(Nasaka, 1988; Kaeriyama, 1999). The concept of ‘‘non-profit’’ grew out of
concern for preventing large corporate entities from gaining control of public
resources. Unlike salmon hatchery programs in other parts of North America,
this program was designed to enhance the salmon fishery, not to mitigate for lost
habitat or to compensate for excessive harvest. Unlike salmon hatchery pro-
grams in Japan, this program was designed to minimize effects on wild salmon
and to give wild populations explicit protections in both policy and practice.
In this paper, we review elements of the Alaska salmon hatchery program
that evolved from these beginnings. We focus on performance in different
regions of Alaska, on interactions of salmon produced through the program
with wild salmon, and on provisions in the program to avoid or minimize the
effects of those interactions.
2. HISTORY: PUBLIC AND PRIVATE HATCHERY PROGRAM
During the late 1970s, the FRED Division assembled a team of fisheries profes-
sionals to help develop the present hatchery program in Alaska. Scientists from
ADF&G and other agencies specializing in genetics, fish health, pathology,
limnology, fish culture, and engineering developed statewide policies for these
disciplines. These policies put into force Alaska law and regulation.
Two important policies were based on the results of the biological disciplines
of genetics and pathology. The genetics policy prohibited both interstate trans-
port of live salmonids, including gametes, into Alaska and interregional
transport of salmonids within the state (GPRT, 1985; Davis and Burkett,
1989). The fish health management policy included guidelines for wild fish
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Alaskan salmon enhancement risk management 363
transplants, broodstock screening, approval of transfers of fish or eggs between
hatcheries within regions, diagnostic procedures, review of the disease history
of juveniles prior to release, and the general use of chemical disinfectants and
therapeutic drugs (SPRC, 1988).
After creating a public-sector salmon fishery enhancement program through
FRED in 1971, the Alaska Legislature passed a law authorizing the building
and operation of private non-profit (PNP) salmon hatcheries in 1974. The PNP
program is centered around five regional aquaculture associations modeled
after the first to be formed, which was the Prince William Sound Aquaculture
Corporation, established in Cordova in 1974 for enhancement of fisheries in
that part of Alaska. The associations were comprised of commercial harvesters
licensed in the region, fish processing companies located in the region, and
other stakeholders. The other four regions encompass Northern and Southern
Southeast Alaska (Southeast), Cook Inlet, and Kodiak. Not all PNP hatcheries
in Alaska are required to be part of a regional association. Statutes allow for
individuals or small non-profit corporations to build and operate hatcheries at
specified sites and at approved production levels for particular species. Plans
for these facilities are also reviewed and approved through the Regional
Planning Team (RPT) process. The inception of the regional association
PNPs, the non-associated PNPs, and FRED set into motion an intensive period
of salmon resource planning and policy review throughout much of coastal
Alaska. That planning effort formed the basis of the current hatchery program.
Following these new policies and guidelines, as many as 44 hatcheries were
built and operated by FRED and the PNPs in Alaska in the 1970s and 1980s.
Initially the state-built public hatcheries operated by FRED and the PNP
hatcheries had similar and overlapping roles (Orth, 1978); by the early 1980s
as many as 20 state-operated and 20 PNP-operated hatcheries were simulta-
neously permitted (Table 3 in McNair, 2000). Over a two-decade period,
however, the hatchery system matured and simultaneously the catch of salmon
increased. By 1993, the Alaska commercial salmon harvests had returned to
record high levels; the Alaska Legislature closed the FRED Division and
combined its duties with the Commercial Fisheries Management and Develop-
ment Division within ADF&G (McNair and Holland, 1994). In succeeding
years, public hatcheries have either ceased operation (4) or have been leased to
PNPs (13). Under these arrangements, PNPs are responsible for annual costs of
operating the hatcheries, which are principally funded from revenue generated
by returning salmon and not from appropriations of public monies. Several
PNP hatcheries have been decommissioned; there are now 30 salmon hatcheries
permitted in Alaska (McNair, 2000).
2.1. Regional Planning and Investment
The RPTs broadly represent fishermen, scientists, and the general public.
Beginning in the 1970s and under the direction of ADF&G, they developed
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364 William W. Smoker and William R. Heard
comprehensive 20-year salmon plans for various regions of Alaska. These plans
considered not only hatcheries but also a variety of other fishery enhancement
tools, including spawning channels, lake stocking, lake fertilization, fish ladders
over barrier falls, and various habitat improvement programs. A primary
consideration during this planning process was protection of the fitness of
wild stocks of salmon.
In 1976 and 1978, Alaska voters passed bond issues that authorized over US
$50 million for the construction of major public salmon hatcheries. The plans
for location, design, and operation of these facilities were governed by these
long-range planning goals in each region. At the same time in the mid 1970s,
the Alaska Legislature established a revolving fund from which the state loaned
funds for construction of approved PNP hatcheries, which are also governed by
the regional plans.
2.2. Operation and Productivity of Alaska Salmon Hatcheries
Under Alaska statutes, regional aquaculture associations in Alaska are allowed
to do the following:
1. build and operate hatcheries;
2. assist ADF&G in developing and maintaining regional salmon plans;
3. authorize assessments (usually 2–3%) on common property, commercially
caught salmon to support hatcheries;
4. provide for the sale of a portion of returning hatchery fish to help cover
operational cost and repay state loans (McKean, 1991).
Non-associated PNP hatchery corporations do not have a direct voice in
regional planning and do not derive revenue from assessments on the annual
catch. This framework allowed the Alaska salmon hatchery program to evolve
into a blend of public and private sector participation (Pinkerton, 1994).
Alaska hatcheries are required by law to benefit common-property harvest-
ers in both commercial and recreational fisheries, for regional economic
benefit. Regional aquaculture associations and non-associated PNP hatchery
operators are, however, allowed to harvest and sell a portion of the hatchery
salmon they produce. Special terminal area zones near the hatchery allow the
harvest of hatchery salmon. Such terminal area harvests are meant to minimize
impacts on wild stocks, on the supposition that relatively few wild salmon are
taken in them. Because the main purpose of the hatcheries is for benefit of the
common-property harvest, production from PNP hatcheries is commonly cate-
gorized as either common-property harvest or cost-recovery harvest.
Currently, there are eight regional aquaculture associations in Alaska. Five
of these have either built hatcheries or are operating facilities initially built
as public hatcheries (McNair and Holland, 1993; McNair, 2000). Ten non-
associated PNP corporations operate hatcheries. The state operates only three
hatcheries, primarily in support of recreational fishing. Regulation of and
technical assistance for all hatcheries in Alaska remain responsibilities of the
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Alaskan salmon enhancement risk management 365
Alaska Department of Fish and Game, which operates technical laboratories
for fish health, genetics, limnology, and mark-and-tag processing (Koenings,
1993; McNair and Holland, 1994).
2.2.1. Southeast Alaska
Two associations in Southeast Alaska, the Southern Southeast Regional Aqua-
culture Association, headquartered in Ketchikan, and the Northern Southeast
Regional Aquaculture Association, headquartered in Sitka, operate six major
hatcheries in the region. In addition, two Federal experimental hatcheries, a
Bureau of Indian Affairs hatchery on the Annette Island Indian Reservation,
and ten non-association private hatcheries produce salmon in this region.
In 1999, 17 million hatchery salmon were caught in the common-property
fishery or in support of cost recovery in Southeast Alaska (McNair, 2000).
Chum salmon represented 68% of this harvest, followed by pink, coho (Oncor-
hynchus kisutch), and sockeye (Oncorhynchus nerka) salmon, which respectively
represented 24%, 6%, and 1% of the catch. Although chinook salmon (Oncor-
hynchus tshawytscha) comprised only 1% of hatchery production in this region,
they nevertheless are an important part of the Southeast Alaska hatchery
program because of patterns in regional fisheries, biology of the species, and
important elements of the U.S.A.=Canada Salmon Treaty (Heard et al., 1995).
Hatchery-produced chum salmon comprised 69% of those taken in the regional
common-property fishery; for other species, hatchery-produced salmon were a
minor component of the harvest.
In Southeast Alaska, 43% of all hatchery salmon produced were harvested
for cost recovery by PNP operators. Chum salmon represented the largest part
of the cost-recovery harvest; one third of the 11.4 million chum salmon har-
vested were sold by PNP corporations to pay for hatchery operations.
2.2.2. Prince William Sound (PWS)
The Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation (PWSAC), headquartered
in Cordova, operates five hatcheries in the region. In addition, the Valdez
Fishery Development Association operates one non-association hatchery in
Valdez. Hatchery salmon harvested in PWS common-property fisheries in
1999 amounted to 26.7 million fish; pink salmon comprised 91% of the harvest.
Chum and sockeye salmon respectively accounted for 4% and 3% of PWS
hatchery production. In the PWS common-property fishery, of all salmon
taken, hatchery-produced salmon comprised 78% of the pink salmon, 83% of
the chum salmon, 29% of the coho, and 21% of the sockeye (McNair, 2000).
Hatchery production of sockeye salmon by PWSAC also occurs in interior
Alaska at Gulkana in the upper reaches of the Copper River, which enters the
Gulf of Alaska at the eastern edge of PWS. The Gulkana Project, one of many
unique applications of hatchery technology in Alaska, involves a spring-fed
sockeye salmon egg incubation system that allows fry to emerge naturally into
otherwise fishless nursery lakes (Roberson and Holder, 1987).
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366 William W. Smoker and William R. Heard
Common-property fisheries that take both wild- and hatchery-produced
salmon are regulated by the state, not only to prevent over-harvest of wild
salmon but also to ensure that an adequate portion of hatchery-produced
salmon is available for subsequent harvest by the hatchery corporations and
for broodstock. This subsequent harvest is the cost-recovery harvest, which is
sold to provide operating revenues to the hatchery corporations. In PWS, 35%
of all hatchery salmon produced were harvested in support of hatchery cost
recovery in 1999. The largest species component of cost recovery was pink
salmon; 35% of the 35 million hatchery-produced fish were pink salmon and
were harvested for that purpose (McNair, 2000).
2.2.3. Cook Inlet
Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association, headquartered in Soldotna, operates two
hatcheries in the region. There are also two hatcheries operated by ADF&G for
freshwater sport fishery enhancement and one non-association hatchery in
Cook Inlet. In 1999, Cook Inlet hatcheries produced a harvest of 1.6 million
salmon; pink salmon represent 38% of the total, sockeye salmon 60%, and coho
salmon 3%. Hatchery-produced salmon represented 16% of the mixed-stock,
common-property fishery and 35% of the total harvest. In Cook Inlet, 66% of
all hatchery salmon were taken by PNP operators for recovery of operating
cost; pink salmon accounted for the largest component (79%) of the 1.1 million
salmon that were harvested for this purpose (McNair, 2000).
2.2.4. Kodiak
The Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association, headquartered in Kodiak,
operates two hatcheries in this region. A total of 5.2 million hatchery salmon
were harvested in the Kodiak Region common-property fishery in 1999. These
fish comprised 29% of the total harvest and 34% of the pink salmon in the total
harvest. Of the harvest of hatchery salmon, pink salmon comprised 79%,
sockeye 16%, coho 3%, and chum salmon 2%. Common-property fisheries
harvested all hatchery salmon produced in the Kodiak Region; none were
taken for recovery of hatchery operating costs (data from McNair, 2000).
2.3. Closing Ineffective Hatcheries
Contrary to the experience elsewhere in North America that salmon hatcheries,
once built, continue to operate indefinitely regardless of whether or not they
contribute salmon to fisheries or reach other performance goals (Hilborn, 1992,
1999; Lichatowich, 2000), the Alaska hatchery program has built and closed a
total of 14 hatcheries since its beginning in the 1970s. Closures have occurred in
all regions for a variety of reasons including potential disease or genetic effects
on wild stocks, intractable disease problems in the hatchery, intractable harvest
management problems, and cost inefficiencies. Because of the close involvement
of regional fishing industries with funding of the hatcheries, either through a
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Alaskan salmon enhancement risk management 367
direct assessment on the value of landings or through an allocation of harvest to
the operation of hatcheries, Alaska’s salmon enhancement program has empha-
sized accurate monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of hatcheries in
producing harvestable salmon and has demanded economic efficiency.
3. EFFECTS ON WILD SALMON
Three major kinds of interactions between hatchery salmon and wild salmon in
Alaska have been recognized as potentially deleterious to the fitness of wild
populations:
1. deleterious genetic (interbreeding) interactions, which are those that threaten
the locally adaptive structure of genetic variation within and between stocks
of wild salmon;
2. disease-causing organisms that could be introduced to wild salmon by
hatchery salmon, a particularly dangerous interaction if exotic pathogens
were to be introduced;
3. harvests of unrecognizable wild salmon in mixtures with abundant hatchery
salmon, which may be too intense and not sustainable by the wild popula-
tions.
Rigorously enforced policy has been promulgated in Alaska to prevent or ame-
liorate all of these interactions (policies entitled Genetic Policy, Salmon Escape-
ment Goal Policy, Stock Transport Policy, Pathology Policy and Escapement
Goal Policy are described in ADFG, 2004). The Alaska Administrative Code (5
ACC, Chapter 41) governs the transport of live salmon, as would occur for the
establishment of a salmon hatchery broodstock or in additions to a broodstock
(the regulations are available on the Internet, website: http:==www.cf.adfg.sta-
ww.cf.adfg.state.ak.us=geninfo=regs=cf_regs.php).
3.1. Genetic Interactions
Conservation of genetic diversity has been long recognized as the central issue
facing stewards of wild salmon in Alaska (reviewed, e.g., by Gharrett and
Smoker, 1993). All interactions between cultured and wild salmon can be under-
stood through their effects on genetic diversity. The spread or intensification of
disease is avoided not merely because either would create obstacles to hatchery
operations but also because both would reduce the fitness of wild-spawning
populations. Any harvest mortality above the sustainable amount reduces fit-
ness and threatens diversity. However, there is also a class of interactions that are
directly genetic; several Alaska regulations address them directly.
An important feature of Alaska policy (GPRT, 1985) has been the prohibi-
tion of transports of non-local salmon into hatcheries, which would place them
into close proximity with wild populations where interbreeding might occur.
This policy followed from the growing understanding that geographic and
genetic distances between salmon populations are correlated, i.e., that the
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368 William W. Smoker and William R. Heard
evolved genetic differences between wild stocks are roughly measured by their
geographic separation, and that the loss of diversity and adaptability from the
interbreeding of hatchery-produced salmon with wild populations could be
minimized if the hatchery broodstocks were derived only from nearby wild
populations (reviewed by Campton, 1995).
Virtually no transports from outside of Alaska have been permitted in the
past 30 years. Transports between river basins or between zoogeographic
regions have been regulated and restricted. Transports have been allowed
only within the geographic regions of the hatcheries and not between regions,
and not even then if interactions with significant wild populations were fore-
seen. For instance, there have been no transports from the southern part of
Southeast Alaska—around Ketchikan—to the northern part—around Juneau.
These regions roughly agree with major stock groupings of salmon.
Alaska policy also seeks to minimize the loss of genetic diversity through
inbreeding within hatchery broodstocks. Because salmon can produce a large
number of eggs, the size of a broodstock absolutely necessary for the economic
success of a hatchery in the short term may be small, for instance smaller than
100 fish. Because wild spawners can be difficult to obtain in some species,
particularly chinook, the size of a hatchery’s founding population also can be
small. Rates of inbreeding and random loss of genetic diversity and fitness can be
high in such small populations. Alaska policy sets a recommended lower limit on
the effective population size of broodstocks at 400. This guideline effective
population size has been generously exceeded in chum, pink, and sockeye
projects; it has been more difficult to meet in chinook and coho projects.
The policy seeks also to minimize losses of genetic diversity due to selection
and specifies that broodstock should be taken proportionately from all tempo-
ral segments of the population of returning fish and that matings otherwise
should be at random with respect to phenotype. Most hatcheries attempt to
follow this part of policy by setting aside brood animals from among fish
arriving the hatchery terminal area at weekly intervals during each year’s run.
Losses of genetic diversity in hatchery populations and divergence of hatch-
ery populations through artificial or domestication selection are potentially
dangerous to wild-spawning salmon because a portion of hatchery fish are
likely to stray and spawn with wild salmon. There is little empirical data to
let science assess this danger. But the policies that limit fish transport, limit
inbreeding, and limit selection are meant to minimize the dangers.
3.2. Disease Control
Alaska’s goal has been to prevent the introduction of exotic pathogens into
Alaska or regions of the state and to prevent any substantial increase in the
‘‘load’’ of naturally occurring pathogens carried by populations (SPRC, 1988).
Applications for permits to transport live salmon (or any species of fish or
shellfish) at any life stage are not only reviewed by ADFG’s pathologist, who
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Alaskan salmon enhancement risk management 369
may require a survey for the presence of pathogens not only in the donor
population but also in populations near the destination of a proposed trans-
port. Thus, the establishment of a salmon hatchery broodstock, or of any
addition to a hatchery’s broodstock, is carefully regulated. No transports are
permitted that involve populations in which ‘‘new’’ pathogens are found, i.e.,
pathogens not known in the receiving watershed.
Permits, when granted, stipulate that transported salmon eggs must be dis-
infected before they can be cultured at the receiving site. Hatchery facilities and
operations are inspected annually and operators are required to use thorough
prophylaxis. Operators are also required to report occurrences of certain
critical diseases, and stocks experiencing outbreaks of critical diseases are
destroyed (critical diseases are specified in the state regulations cited above
and include dangerous diseases caused by pathogens that are not known to
occur in Alaska). Preventing introductions of disease pathogens is also an
important justification for Alaska’s prohibition of transports from outside of
the state.
3.3. Overharvest in Mixed-Stock Fisheries
For wild-spawned populations, a major detriment associated with hatcheries
can be the excessive and unsustainable harvest of the population in mixtures
with salmon produced by hatcheries. A drastic example is the loss of wild coho
salmon populations in the lower Columbia River in the states of Washington
and Oregon, USA. A major contributing factor to their loss was that, after
about 1960, a commercial fishery was sustained by production from hatcheries
but the rate of harvest was too great to be sustained by the wild populations
(Weitkamp et al., 2000).
In Alaska, one strategy for reducing this risk has been to locate hatcheries in
places where returning hatchery salmon can be harvested in relative isolation
from wild stocks, sometimes to the benefit of weak wild populations, which
otherwise would be exposed to harvest. Examples of this strategy include the
chum salmon hatchery programs in Southeast Alaska. They include Neets Bay
Hatchery (the harvest area is at the head of a long fiord devoid of other salmon
populations), Hidden Falls Hatchery (the hatchery and harvest area are on the
steep shore of a long strait where relatively few wild salmon occur), Boat
Harbor-Lower Lynn Canal harvest area (in a location where few wild salmon
are mixed in the fishery), and Deep Inlet harvest area (an isolated inlet on Sitka
Sound) (Smoker et al., 2000). These ‘‘isolated-from-wild-stocks’’ programs
account for more than half of the hatchery chum salmon production in Alaska.
Other hatchery programs, however, were developed to enhance characteris-
tically mixed-stock fisheries. Many salmon fisheries in Alaska occur at places
and times where returning mature salmon are spatially concentrated before
sexual maturation has reduced their value to the fishery; these locations are
typically capes and entrances to sounds, straits, and bays. Managers control
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370 William W. Smoker and William R. Heard
these fisheries week by week. They construct catch-per-effort indexes of
wild stocks and restrict the fisheries if weekly indexes indicate a scarcity of wild
salmon. Separate indices of abundances of wild-spawned and hatchery-
produced salmon can be estimated from catch and effort by the managers
only if a portion of the hatchery-produced fish are marked at the hatchery
and are detected during the fishing season. In practice, the fishery manager
opens the weekly fishing seasons at the beginning of the fishing year, judges the
strength of the annual run based on the size of the initial catch and a compari-
son of it to historical records, and then either leaves the fishery open or closes it.
The process is repeated week by week during the annual run. The judgment of
run strength can be confused by the presence of an unknown portion of
hatchery-produced fish unless an estimate of the portion can be made from
the presence of marks or tags on hatchery salmon; without marks or tags, the
presence of hatchery-produced fish will bias the manager’s judgment of run
strength upward, thereby increasing the likelihood that the fishery will be
allowed to continue even when the run of wild salmon is weak.
In some fisheries, these weekly estimates have been made by detection of the
marks and microwire tags applied to a portion of fry released from the hatchery
(reviewed by Smoker et al., 2000). In other mixed-stock fisheries, however, the
proportion of hatchery salmon that can feasibly be marked by excision of
adipose fins and tagged by coded microwires is too small. The development
of a mass-marking technique has improved the situation markedly in the past
ten years. Cyclic manipulations of incubation temperature after the early
embryonic stages (e.g., a cooling of 28C for 24 hours during a 72-hour period)
results in a recognizable dark layer in the microstructure of otoliths (Volk et al.,
1990). These ‘‘otolith thermal marks’’ can be economically applied to the entire
production of hatcheries (Munk et al., 1993). Repeated manipulations are used
to encode specific marks at each of several hatcheries. Samples are taken in
each fishing period and immediately decoded; the proportion of marks detected
in the samples provides a powerful estimate of the proportions of hatchery and
wild-spawned salmon in the catch (Hagen et al., 1995; Geiger and Munk, 1998;
Joyce and Evans, 1998; Jensen, 2000). More than 600 million fry are marked
each year in Alaska; more than 30 different codes can be applied in a given year
(data from Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Juneau, Alaska, USA).
3.4. Real-Time in-Season Use of Marks and Tags
There are three notable regional fisheries in Alaska that are now managed
based on real-time information from otolith thermal marks. Pink salmon enter
PWS through the narrow entrances in the southwest, enroute to spawning
streams in all parts of the sound. Mixtures of wild and hatchery fish are
harvested at the entrances during the early part of the season. Because all of
the 600 million hatchery fry produced in PWS are marked, the relative
strengths of the wild stocks in the entrances are known from samples of otoliths
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Alaskan salmon enhancement risk management 371
taken each week during the season. The fishery can then be regulated by
opening or closing restricted districts along the migration path of the salmon
on specific days. Later in the season, aggregations of hatchery salmon can be
identified and targeted for harvest (Joyce and Evans, 1998; T. Joyce, Area
Management Biologist, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Cordova,
Alaska, USA, personal communication June 2000).
Fisheries for chum salmon from Gastineau Hatchery and Hidden Falls
Hatchery in the northern region of Southeast are situated in relative isolation
from other chum salmon fisheries and from migrating wild salmon. They present
a low risk to wild-spawned salmon populations. Even so, fishery managers
depend on assessments made using otolith thermal marks as a reliable indicator
of the weekly abundance of wild chum salmon (A. MacGregor, Area Manage-
ment Biologist, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Douglas, Alaska, USA,
personal communication June 2000).
Sockeye salmon fisheries on the transboundary Stikine River are enhanced
by the harvest of fish returning to two headwater lakes. One of the lakes, Tuya,
is inaccessible to returning salmon but is remarkably productive; it is stocked
each year with fry derived from gametes taken from sockeye returning to the
second lake, Tahini. The embryos are incubated and the otoliths thermally
marked at Snettisham Hatchery, north of the mouth of the Stikine. The marks
are crucial for managing the gauntlet of fisheries in the USA near the river
mouth and in Canada at intervals on the river (Jensen, 2000).
Biologists are also learning from otolith thermal marks that substantial
straying of pink salmon does occur from hatcheries in PWS when large returns
are present, and that the number of strays into wild-spawning beds is related to
the distance from the hatchery (Joyce and Evans, 1998). It is not known,
however, how much detrimental gene flow is associated with this straying and
how different this straying may be from the apparently very frequent straying
between wild populations of pink salmon in the region (Sharp et al., 1993; but
see Habicht et al., 1998). Harvest managers are learning how to micromanage
fisheries to minimize such straying (T. Joyce, Area Salmon Management Biolo-
gist, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Cordova, Alaska, USA, personal
communication).
4. DISCUSSION
Depressed wild stocks were the impetus for the current hatchery program in
Alaska. A novel system of public and private non-profit hatcheries evolved to
augment, not replace, wild salmon in common-property fisheries. One goal of
the program is to smooth out some of the sharp downside fluctuations in
abundance (Koernig and Noerenberg, 1976). Over the past two decades, wild
stocks in Alaska have made dramatic recoveries from their historical minima
25–30 years ago. Because of this and the contribution of fish from the imple-
mentation of the hatchery program, the common-property commercial harvest
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372 William W. Smoker and William R. Heard
of Alaska salmon has reached record high levels. In some recent years, the
harvest has not been restricted by abundance of salmon but has been con-
strained by lack of economic demand; processing companies have limited their
purchases of salmon from fishermen. Since 1980, the commercial salmon catch
has exceeded 100 million fish in all but one year and catches over the past 19
years have averaged 145 million fish (range: 97–218 million). Even during this
era of very high harvest, however, many local fisheries in Alaska have depended
in some years on salmon produced by hatcheries because local wild populations
have not been abundant enough to provide harvestable salmon, i.e., salmon
that are surplus to the population’s requirements for its reproduction.
The Alaska ocean ranching program contribution to harvest has been con-
siderably larger than other hatchery programs in the North Pacific Ocean, but
not as large as the Japanese program (Table 1; NPAFC, 1999). Hatchery
contributions to harvest are particularly important in sustaining the Japanese
salmon harvest (Kaeriyama, 1999) because Japan’s harvest is derived almost
solely from hatchery production; this has been Japan’s primary basis for
salmon production for over a century. There has not been an emphasis on
protection of wild-stock productivity or habitat. Northern Japan is near the
southern extent of the range of Pacific salmon; its subtropical summer climate
provides only seasonally accessible habitat to salmon. It is unlikely that annual
harvests like those provided by the Japan ocean ranching program (in excess
of 30 million chum salmon annually in the past two decades; Kaeriyama,
1999) could be sustained by wild-spawning populations in Japan even if pre-
settlement habitats were restored.
There are strong correlations between survival of salmon in the ocean and
climate-driven fluctuations of environmental factors (Beamish and Bouillion,
1993; Francis and Hare, 1994; Hare and Francis, 1995; Mantua et al., 1997;
Beamish et al., 1998). The variations in harvest between regions of the
North Pacific Ocean are probably principally determined by differences in
productivity between oceanic regimes; i.e., differences between the California
Current and the Alaska Gyre. Stocks dependent on the California Current
ecosystem have been depressed in recent decades whereas stocks dependent on
Table 1. Harvest of Pacific salmon, releases from hatcheries, and the proportion of hatchery-
produced salmon in harvests in regions of the Pacific rim, in 1995. Data source: North Pacific
Anadromous Fish Commission, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Location
Harvest (thousands
of metric tons)
Hatchery fry
released (billions)
Hatchery-produced
salmon in harvest
Canada, British Columbia 50 0.5 >50%
Japan 253 2.1 >90%
Russia, far eastern 218 0.4 <20%
USA, Alaska 451 1.5 30%
USA, southern 16 0.5 >50%
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Alaskan salmon enhancement risk management 373
the Alaska Gyre have been abundant (Hare et al., 1999). Many scientists now
believe that the recent two decades of high marine survivals of salmon from
Alaska (and also from Asia) may be shifting into a declining mode due to major
shifts in climatic patterns in the North Pacific Ocean (Klyashtorin, 1998;
Klyashtorin and Rukhlov, 1998; Noakes et al., 1998; Welch et al., 1998).
However we note that, in 1999, the industry produced yet another record
harvest of salmon in Alaska—216 million fish, a harvest that was restricted
by economic demand and not by salmon abundance. Although Alaska hatch-
eries currently have a good record of enhancing wild-salmon catches, it remains
to be seen if they can mitigate sharp downturns in abundance when marine
survival rates decline.
Changes in climate that affect ocean survival can also directly affect fresh-
water life stages of salmon; e.g., colder winters are associated with reduced
survival of eggs and fry in nature. In theory at least, hatchery salmon would
have survival advantages over wild salmon if the two types were subjected to
the same marine conditions in a colder climate because the environment of the
hatchery salmon is controlled during freshwater life stages. Indeed, because
Alaska’s salmon enhancement program began during the period of high marine
survivals in the late 1970s, it will be important to maintain continued careful
evaluation of the program before, during, and after any future environmental
changes that could affect the effectiveness of the program.
Alaska’s hatchery program has enjoyed considerable success during its first
quarter century; however, as pointed out by Hilborn and Winton (1993), a
longer time horizon may be needed to properly evaluate such enhancement
programs. The annual reporting requirement under which Alaska hatchery
operators must monitor important performance criteria will be important.
This is particularly true for the annual catch of hatchery-produced salmon,
both in the mixed-stock, common-property fisheries and in the terminal fish-
eries where catches are allocated to the recovery of hatchery operating costs
(e.g., McKean, 1991; McNair and Holland, 1993, 1994; McNair, 1999, 2000).
Alaska hatchery operators should continue to emphasize monitoring and eval-
uation to fulfill this requirement and because PNPs and the regional salmon
fishing industries and communities have a close economic association.
Two issues of major concern often raised with salmon hatcheries include the
potential ecological displacement of wild salmon by hatchery fish in freshwater
habitats and overharvest of less abundant wild stocks in fisheries that target
more abundant hatchery fish. The planning for Alaska’s hatchery program
addressed these issues in several ways. Hatchery locations were carefully eval-
uated in the RPT process and, as a result, interactions between wild and hatchery
juveniles in freshwater environments have been minimized. Most facilities are
located at or near tidewater at a distance from major wild populations; for
example, near streams where there are no natural salmon runs. Fry and smolts
from tidewater hatcheries are released directly into the marine environment. As a
result, hatchery juveniles tend not to co-mingle with their wild counterparts; in
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374 William W. Smoker and William R. Heard
particular, hatchery salmon do not interact with wild salmon as they migrate
through hundreds of miles of riverine waters, a problematic characteristic of
salmon hatchery programs in other parts of North America.
Provisions for terminal harvest areas are also carefully considered so that
fisheries can target hatchery-fish returns and avoid mixed hatchery=wild-stock
populations to the greatest extent possible. Where major mixed hatchery=wild-
stock fisheries do occur, extensive marking programs are now in place to allow
identification of the hatchery fish in those fisheries. Coded-wire tagging or
thermally induced otolith marking of hatchery juveniles together with real-
time monitoring of the proportion of marked fish in the harvest allow managers
to know, with a high degree of certainty, ratios of hatchery and wild fish in the
mixture and to make the best management decisions to protect the wild stocks
(see reviews by Heard, 1998; Smoker et al., 2000 and see also Munk et al., 1993;
Joyce and Evans, 1998; Geiger and Munk, 1998; Volk et al., 1990).
Two particular regions of Alaska’s hatchery program have been criticized:
the large pink salmon hatchery program in PWS and the predominant hatchery
production of chum salmon in Southeast. In both instances, over 75% of the
harvest is attributable to hatchery production. Eggers et al. (1991), in a review
of trends in wild and hatchery pink salmon abundances in PWS, raised con-
cerns over apparent declines in wild-stock escapements and in the ability
concomitantly to conduct fisheries on large hatchery runs and reach target
escapement goals for wild stocks. Hilborn (1992) also criticized pink salmon
hatchery production in PWS, saying that the program is without merit and
‘‘ . . . should be terminated.’’ Recently Hilborn and Eggers (2000) argued that
the release of hatchery-produced salmon in PWS has not significantly increased
production beyond the level that would have been available from wild stocks.
They elaborated by speculating that hatchery salmon have driven out wild
stocks or deprived them of ecological opportunity. They reach three conclu-
sions:
1. The recent era of increased hatchery production compared to that of the
preceding era is proportionately no greater in PWS than in other regions not
affected by hatchery production.
2. The abundance of any cohort of wild salmon is largely determined by
escapement in the preceding generation (i.e., the abundance of adult salmon
not harvested by the fishery) and escapement in PWS has declined steadily
during the era of hatchery production.
3. The productivity of wild populations (the number of returning offspring per
spawning adult) correlates negatively over the years with the number of fry
released from hatcheries in PWS. Thus, if hatchery salmon had not been
present, productivity of wild stocks would have been commensurately
higher.
Wertheimer et al. (2001) find fault with their analysis and interpretation in each
of their findings and note the following:
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Alaskan salmon enhancement risk management 375
1. Compared to that of other areas, the productivity of wild stocks in PWS was
particularly high in the years before hatchery production began, and it
remained high in the hatchery-influenced era.
2. Escapement or wild-stock spawning abundance during the recent era of
hatchery production may have been smaller than during the earlier era,
but escapement came closer to harvest managers’ goals, i.e., escapements
declined because harvest managers were better able to control the fishery
and to reduce the number of years when escapement was above the goal.
3. Productivity of wild stocks is more likely influenced by environmental
conditions other than the presence of hatchery-produced salmon in PWS;
thus, Hilborn’s and Eggers’ model (2000) of wild-stock productivity in the
absence of hatchery salmon is unrealistic.
Furthermore, Wertheimer et al. (2004) find that year-to-year variations in
marine ocean conditions explain more of the changes of wild-stock productivity
than can be explained by the presence of hatchery salmon.
Another regional criticism of the Alaska hatchery program—this one of the
production of chum salmon in southeast Alaska where hatcheries produced
almost half of the total Alaska harvest of 20 million fish in 1999—comes from
fishermen in regions where both price and production of chum salmon have
declined. The criticism is that prices would be higher for chum salmon caught
0
50
100
150
200
250
1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1 995 1996 1997 1998
Catch (Millions of
Salmon)
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
Value (Millions of
Dollars)
Hatchery Produced
Wild Spawned
Value Ex Vessel
Figure 2. Commercial catch and exvessel value of wild-spawned and hatchery-produced Alaska
salmon, 1988–1998. Hatchery salmon include fish taken in both common-property and cost-
recovery harvests. Data source; Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Juneau, Alaska, USA
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376 William W. Smoker and William R. Heard
in other regions if there were not so many chum salmon from Southeast
hatcheries.
In fact, there has been an overall decadal decline in the commercial value of
salmon fisheries (Figure 2). Many factors interact and fluctuate in determining
prices paid to salmon fishermen. However, no factor is more relevant than the
increasing world supply, which is principally due to the burgeoning increase in
production of farmed salmon by many countries (Heard, 1997; Knapp, 1998;
Sylvia et al., 2000). While capture fisheries for salmon by all nations combined
have remained relatively stable at around 600 to 800 thousand metric tons
annually over the past 14 years, farmed salmon production has grown from less
than 250 thousand metric tons in 1984 to over a million metric tons in 1998 and,
in 1996, it first exceeded capture fisheries (Figure 3). There are more salmon
available today in commercial markets worldwide than ever before, despite the
unsettling fact that wild stocks in many areas are badly depressed and
threatened with extinction, especially where major habitat losses have occurred
(reviewed by Williams, 2000). It is therefore difficult to attribute declines of
chum salmon prices in other regions solely to the increase of hatchery produc-
tion in Southeast Alaska.
0
20 0
40 0
600
800
1,000
1,200
1,400
1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996 1998
Thousand Metric
Tons
Farmed
Captured
Figure 3. Worldwide production of farmed and wild-caught (captured) salmon and trout, 1984–
1998. Capture fisheries include both hatchery and wild-spawned salmon. Both freshwater and
marine environments are included. Data source: Yearbook Volume 86=1 and Volume 86=2, Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy
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Alaskan salmon enhancement risk management 377
5. CONCLUSIONS
Alaska salmon runs and the fisheries that depend on them are unique in that a
successful hatchery program coexists with abundant and healthy wild popula-
tions that are, in general, at or near record high abundance (Baker et al., 1996;
Wertheimer, 1997), despite sharp declines in some stocks in some regions in
some years (e.g., Kruse, 1998). After two decades of operations in several
regions, hatcheries are successfully making meaningful contributions to fish-
eries with little, if any, evidence of significant detrimental impacts either on the
environment or on wild populations of salmon in Alaska.
Salmon management in Alaska is strongly directed by law, policy, and
regulation toward maintaining sustainable, productive wild-stock spawning
populations. Even where hatchery fish are not involved, Alaska’s fisheries
management policies are directed toward reaching established escapement
goals for wild populations rather than any predetermined harvest goal for the
benefit of fisheries. Strong habitat laws have prevented catastrophic losses of
salmon habitats. These, and a carefully implemented hatchery program, are the
hallmarks of Alaska’s commitment to maintaining healthy runs of Pacific
salmon and the fisheries that depend on them (Holmes and Burkett, 1996).
We conclude that the current salmon hatchery program in Alaska, from its
beginning in the 1970s to the present, and despite some difficulties, conflicts,
and adjustments, is a notable success.
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... The enhancement of Pacific salmon populations in Alaska with hatchery-reared fish plays an important role in smoothing out population fluctuations induced by ocean-climate variability in the North Pacific ( Beamish et al. 1997;Mantua et al. 1997;Royer et al. 2001). A large hatchery program was initiated by the State of Alaska in 1971 to increase salmon production after harvests declined precipitously in the 1960s (Smoker and Heard 2007). In 1974, the State Legislature implemented a system of private-non-profit hatchery associations, and together with state-owned and federal facilities currently encompass 36 hatcheries, which produced 30.8% of the state's harvest of salmon in 2009 (White 2010). ...
... Over 75% of the harvest of pink salmon in Prince William Sound comes from hatchery production (Smoker and Heard 2007). Large numbers of chum salmon are also produced in Southeast Alaska and may contribute to an increase in hatchery-wild interactions. ...
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The straying of hatchery salmon may harm wild salmon populations through a variety of ecological and genetic mechanisms. Surveys of pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), chum (O. keta) and sockeye (O. nerka) salmon in wild salmon spawning locations in Prince William Sound (PWS), Alaska since 1997 show a wide range of hatchery straying. The analysis of thermally marked otoliths collected from carcasses indicate that 0–98% of pink salmon, 0–63% of chum salmon and 0–93% of sockeye salmon in spawning areas are hatchery fish, producing an unknown number of hatchery-wild hybrids. Most spawning locations sampled (77%) had hatchery pink salmon from three or more hatcheries, and 51% had annual escapements consisting of more than 10% hatchery pink salmon during at least one of the years surveyed. An exponential decay model of the percentage of hatchery pink salmon strays with distance from hatcheries indicated that streams throughout PWS contain more than 10% hatchery pink salmon. The prevalence of hatchery pink salmon strays in streams increased throughout the spawning season, while the prevalence of hatchery chum salmon decreased. The level of hatchery salmon strays in many areas of PWS are beyond all proposed thresholds (2–10%), which confounds wild salmon escapement goals and may harm the productivity, genetic diversity and fitness of wild salmon in this region
... As this article takes a critical approach to the existing Alaska salmon enhancement program, we intentionally focus this overview on critiques of hatcheries and stocking programs. However, we note that the hatchery debate in the scientific literature includes a number of publications that challenge the critiques we have presented here (e.g., Wertheimer et al. 2001;Smoker and Heard 2007;Heard 2012;Sturdevant et al. 2012). The hatchery debate is ongoing and includes degrees of complexity and place-based nuance that this overview does not capture. ...
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Alaska's salmon enhancement program plays an important and substantial role in commercial fishing harvests situated around the Gulf of Alaska, Prince William Sound, and Southeast Alaska. In recent years, discussions about the ecological impacts of the enhancement program have emerged in the media, the Alaska Board of Fisheries, and other public discourses. These discussions have illuminated tension within Alaskan society about the role and impacts of hatcheries in fisheries and coastal communities. This study uses qualitative methods to identify key themes that underlie those tensions within Alaska Board of Fisheries public comments and private discourses. We found that issues raised in public comment formats were limited to four key themes, whereas interviews revealed those same themes as well as a broader and more nuanced cross section of themes, both critical and complimentary of the enhancement program. We discuss these themes within the context of enhancement policy and ongoing research into wild–hatchery salmon interactions, both of which pose certain constraints about how trade‐offs between social, ecological, and economic valuation of the enhancement program can be made. We suggest a road map of four steps for action to help avoid potential societal conflict in the future: (1) establish a process to incorporate socio‐cultural dimensions of hatcheries and stocking into enhancement program decision making; (2) better define “adverse impacts” within enhancement policy; (3) link current and future research findings to decision‐making processes and policy implications; and (4) plan for the future(s) through scenario development work aimed at identifying the ecological and societal impacts of different enhancement policy changes, such as drawing down, scaling up, or otherwise altering existing stocking practices.
... The main thrust became a system of research and production for salmon hatcheries in the state. The nonprofit (PNP) hatchery program was established in 1974 (McNail 1995;Smoker and Heard 2007;Heard 2012;Vercessi 2014). The program was designed to help rehabilitate depressed fisheries and to protect wild salmon populations through detailed planning and permitting processes that included the statewide genetics policy (Davis et al. 1985;Davis and Burkett 1989) and fish health polices (Meyers 2014). ...
... Examples of stocking introductions or aquaculture escapees are Sardinella marquesensis Berry & Whitehead, 1968, Herklotsichthys quadrimaculatus (Rüppell, 1837, Lutjanus spp., Upeneus vittatus (Forsskål, 1775), Cephalopholis argus Schneider, 1801 and Moolgarda engeli (Bleeker, 1858) around the Hawai'ian islands (Carlton & Eldredge, 2009), and Alosa sapidissima (Wilson, 1811), Morone saxatilis (Walbaum, 1792), Gambusia affinis (Baird & Girard, 1853) as well as Dicentrarchus labrax (L., 1758), in different areas of the world (Cohen & Carlton, 1995;Eldredge & Carlton, 2002;Iwasaki et al., 2004;Ray, 2005a;Iwasaki, 2006;Ramirez, 2015). Several populations of sturgeons (Acipenseridae), eels (Anguillidae), and salmonids (Salmonidae) also originated from aquaculture escapees in many different localities (Soto et al., 2001;Iwasaki et al., 2004;Castilla et al., 2005;Iwasaki, 2006;Smoker & Heard, 2007;Vigliano & Alonso, 2007;Seo & Lee in Rilov & Crooks, 2009). ...
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We review the literature of marine non-indigenous fishes (NIF) in order to summarize information on their ecological impacts and to compare successful invading freshwater fishes with those in marine habitats. An increasing number of marine NIF have been observed colonizing new areas through a suite of different pathways (the main ones being inter-oceanic canals, shipping, aquaculture, and aquarium release). Ecological impacts of marine NIF have been verified for only a few of these species. These impacts can be categorized as (i) an alteration of habitat or food webs; (ii) competition with natives; (iii) predation on natives; (iv) vectoring parasites or pathogens; or (v) genetic impacts on native species. The few marine NIF with known impacts contrasts sharply with freshwater NIF taxa, for which negative ecological impacts have been widely identified. The literature review comparing freshwater and marine NIF does not reveal different species traits to explain the higher impact of freshwater NIF. We discuss a suite of ecological factors that may explain these differences. One non-ecological factor contributing to the perceived higher impact in freshwater may be the lower level of ecological knowledge in marine systems due to overall less research efforts and technical and financial challenges imposed by marine research.
... Other aspects of comprehensive planning included the permitted capacity of each species to be raised in individual hatcheries, origins of broodstocks used, and proximity of hatcheries to wild stocks. Because the Alaska program was developed to enhance the salmon fishery and not mitigate for lost habitat, or help rebuild wild runs with infusions of hatchery fish (Heard 2003;McGee 2004;Smoker and Heard 2007), the siting of hatcheries became of paramount importance. In SEAK, in order to minimize potential negative impacts of hatchery salmon, no hatcheries are located on streams or rivers with major runs of wild salmon, conversely, most hatcheries are located on non-anadromous water sources at or near tidewater and some distance from important wild stocks. ...
Article
Full-text available
Modern salmon hatcheries in Southeast Alaska were established in the 1970s when wild runs were at record low levels. Enhancement programs were designed to help rehabilitate depressed fisheries and to protect wild salmon stocks through detailed planning and permitting processes that included focused policies on genetics, pathology, and management. Hatcheries were located away from significant wild stocks, local sources were used to develop hatchery broodstocks, and juveniles are marked so management can target fisheries on hatchery fish. Initially conceived as a state-run system, the Southeast Alaska (SEAK) program has evolved into a private, non-profit concept centered around regional aquaculture associations run by fishermen and other stakeholders that pay for hatchery operations through landing fees and sale of fish. Today there are 15 production hatcheries and 2 research hatcheries in SEAK that between 2005 and 2009 released from 474 to 580 million (average 517 million) juvenile salmon per year. During this same period commercial harvest of salmon in the region ranged from 28 to 71 million salmon per year (average 49 million). Contributions of hatchery-origin fish to this harvest respectively averaged 2%, 9%, 19%, 20%, and 78% for pink, sockeye, Chinook, coho, and chum salmon. Both hatchery and wild salmon stocks throughout much of Alaska have experienced high marine survivals since the 1980s and 1990s resulting in record harvests over the past two decades. Although some interactions between hatchery salmon and wild salmon are unavoidable including increasing concerns over straying of hatchery fish into wild salmon streams, obvious adverse impacts from hatcheries on production of wild salmon populations in this region are not readily evident.
Chapter
Alaska currently produces —80% of the salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) harvested in North America. The total Alaska salmon catch has increased dramatically since the 1970s and is now at historically high levels. Commercial catch has averaged 135 million salmon since 1980 and set a new harvest record of 192 million salmon in 1993. Catches of all five species of Pacific salmon in each of the three International North Pacific Fisheries Commission statistical regions for Alaska have increased since the 1970s, and generally are at or are near historically high levels; an exception is the catch of chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) in southeast Alaska. Escapements for all species evaluated had predominantly no trend or increasing trends over time, indicating that the current high harvest levels are reflective of abundance and productivity, and not over-exploitation of the resource such as occurred in the first half of the century. Factors that have influenced the recent high productivity of Alaska salmon include a relatively pristine and undeveloped habitat base, salmon management policies within the state, the elimination of high-seas driftnet fisheries, enhancement by hatcheries, and favorable environmental conditions.