Alaska Aquaculture

docked boat
An oyster farmer cleans nets in Kachemak Bay.

Salmon ranching and shellfish farming comprise Alaska's aquaculture industry. Private non-profit (PNP) hatcheries, primarily owned by commercial salmon fishermen, support the fishery with releases of approximately 1.5 billion salmon smolt each year. In recent years, these smolt releases have contributed nearly 30 million fish annually to the commercial fishery. New supplies of salmon from worldwide farming and strong wild runs in Alaska have reduced the market price, causing economic distress for the Alaska salmon fishery and PNP hatchery income.

MAP is involved in PNP hatcheries in efforts to facilitate sharing of resources and information, and conduct a coordinated applied research program.

State law restricts aquatic farming to seaweeds and shellfish. Started as a fledging industry in the late 1970s, shellfish farming has been revitalized with passage of the Alaska Aquatic Farm Act in 1988. Since 1988, the aquatic farming industry has grown from a single farmer to over 60 farms. In 2002, the State of Alaska passed legislation intended to increase the number of shellfish farms and the variety of species available for farming.

The Marine Advisory Program's aquaculture mission is to provide support for the rapidly expanding shellfish farming industry and provide technical assistance to the salmon ranching effort.

Resources for Shellfish Aquaculture

Publications, presentations and helpful links for the shellfish aquaculture industry.

For more information, contact

Aquaculture Publications

Related sites of interest