The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), Division of Sport Fish (Division) constructed two state-of-the-art recirculating aquaculture hatcheries using the best available fish culture technology to address issues ranging from, aging infrastructure to limited groundwater, and the loss of free heat from adjacent military power plants. Recycling up to 98% of the flow, both hatcheries significantly reduce demand for water and heat in this harsh northern climate. These hatcheries produce Chinook and Coho salmon, rainbow trout, and Arctic char to stock over 290 freshwater lakes, streams, and saltwater sites to create and enhance sport fishing opportunity throughout much of Alaska’s road system. Being fully enclosed, both hatcheries can control many aspects of the fish’s life cycle from egg take and incubation, to early rearing and stocking of fingerling, smolt, and catchable sized fish. In 2016, hatchery staff at the two sport fish hatcheries produced and stocked over 6.55 million fish. Production at these facilities began in 2011. The Sport Fish Restoration Program funded $4,126,000 in FY16 (matched with payment on construction bonds).
The ADF&G has been stocking salmon and trout for harvest by sport anglers for over 50 years. Primary goals are to reduce the pressure on wild stocks, increase sport fishing opportunity, and provide diversity in sport fisheries. In the early 2000s it was determined that existing production facilities would not be able to provide adequate size and numbers of fish to achieve long-term management goals. At this point, the Division began conducting studies and determined that the most effective solution would be to construct new recirculating aquaculture facilities capable of meeting these long-term needs.
Both hatcheries include interpretive Fisheries Centers that have allowed thousands of visitors from around the world to learn about the Division’s core missions. Visitors can view hatchery operations from key vantage points within the Fisheries Centers.