The Kitoi Bay Hatchery thought 10 million pink salmon would return this summer, but only around 2 million showed up. Even though its estimates were off, the hatchery was able to meet 95 percent of its cost recovery fishing goal. Around 5.75 million pounds of pinks were collected.
Tina Fairbanks is the executive director of the Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association, the organization that runs the hatchery. She says the bulk of the fish were gathered in 11 days, which means a lot of salmon were caught in a short period of time.
“The biggest day we had exceeded over 900,000 pounds. And that was, if you want to call it a personal best for the hatchery for a single day of cost recovery that’s what it amounted to.”
Fairbanks says after a summer filled with so many ups and downs, KRAA was excited to finish the season by catching so many fish.
“That ensures next year’s operations and gives us a little bit of a cushion for years when perhaps we do fall short or we make a decision to forgo cost recovery or not cost recover all of our costs.”
The cost recovery fishing wrapped up about a week ago. Fairbanks says KRAA is hoping the lackluster return of hatchery pink salmon this year doesn’t affect the run 2 years from now.