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.
Publications, presentations and helpful links for the shellfish aquaculture industry.
For more information, contact
- Gary Freitag, Ketchikan Marine Advisory Program
- Alaska Oyster Growers Manual
- Guidelines for Shellfish Farming in Alaska
- Spawn, Spat, and Sprains: A Manual for Aquaculture Safety in Alaska
- Growing Shellfish in Alaska
- Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning: The Alaska Problem
- Ocean Ranching (video)
- More aquaculture information from Alaska Sea Grant bookstore
Related sites of interest
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game mariculture site
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game salmon hatchery site
- Alaska Department of Natural Resources aquatic farming site
- Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation Seafood & Shellfish page
- Alaskan Shellfish Growers Association
- British Columbia Shellfish Growers Association
- Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association