North Gulf Coast (Seward) Management Area
Recent Coho Salmon Research Results
The coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) sport fishery in Resurrection Bay, Alaska has grown from and annual average harvest of about 16,000 fish (1977 - 1989) to the current annual average of about 80,000 fish. This fishery is now perhaps the largest sport fishery for coho salmon in Alaska. Coho salmon have been stocked into Resurrection Bay waters since the 1960's. The Alaska Department of Fish & Game along with Cook Inlet Aquaculture currently stock between 400,000 and 500,000 coho smolt annually into these waters. Starting in 2002 all coho salmon smolt released by hatcheries into Resurrection Bay, Cook Inlet, and Prince William Sound had thermally marked otoliths indicating their hatchery of origin as well as release site. These coho salmon returned to their release sites during 2003-2005. ADF&G examined coho salmon from the Resurrection Bay fishery at the Port of Seward during these three years. The Resurrection Bay fishery was divided into three separate recovery areas, two of which were within the bay and the third was outside the bay. During the three years of sampling (2003, 2004, 2005) 33%, 24%, and 33% of the samples were thermally marked fish. The recovery area at the head of Resurrection Bay, adjacent to the Port of Seward, had the highest contribution of thermally marked coho. Significantly more of the thermally marked coho were recovered after July 31. Thermally marked coho from release sites in Resurrection Bay, Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet were recovered. Only one thermally marked coho salmon from Southcentral Alaska was recovered, a fish from Southeast Alaska. The most frequently recovered coho were released in Resurrection Bay followed closely by fish released from hatcheries in Prince William Sound.
Continuing Groundfish Research
The Gulf of Alaska Halibut and Groundfish Harvest Assessment Project was launched in 1991, supported by WB-DJ Federal Aid in Fish Restoration funding. The project has continued every year since then, and now includes support from the National Marine Fisheries Service for halibut sampling and analysis. The project includes sampling of sport harvest at Kodiak, Homer, Deep Creek/Anchor Point, Seward, Valdez and Whittier, the primary ports of sport landings in Southcentral Alaska.