- SINCE 1980 -
- Private Non-Profit Alaskan Salmon Hatchery -
Armstrong-Keta, Inc. was established as a non-profit organization to support the commercial and sport fishing fleets, the rural communities and the fishing-related businesses of Southeast Alaska with research into salmon enhancement and the production of additional salmon.
Armstrong-Keta, Inc., (AKI) was founded in 1980 as a private non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt corporation that operates the Port Armstrong Hatchery, located on Chatham Strait near the southern end of Baranof Island. The organization's primary function is to significantly contribute salmon in an environmentally compatible way to the common property fisheries of Southeast Alaska, including commercial, sport, and subsistence users. Commercial fishing is the backbone of the economy of small, often remote, rural Southeast Alaskan towns.
The salmon produced by AKI also provide income to processors, tenders, hatchery employees, and many of the local businesses supporting this industry. As part of its core mission, AKI is actively involved in research and experiments to refine fish culture procedures and explore new technologies that will further hatchery salmon enhancement techniques.
PORT ARMSTRONG HATCHERY
The Port Armstrong Hatchery is located on the remote southern end of Baranof Island in Southeast Alaska. This beautiful, unspoiled wilderness can only be accessed via boat or seaplane. However, this rugged outpost of paradise has a rich history of fishing, whaling, and canning.
Port Armstrong was the site of a whaling station for four years in the early 20th century, with whaling boats scouring the seas for whales up to 300 miles in every direction. Later a herring reduction plant operated there for several decades until 1953. AKI built its salmon hatchery on the same site in the early 1980s and took its first salmon eggs in 1983, using local salmon runs for its original broodstock to supplement the healthy and sustainable wild Alaskan salmon runs.
The topography of Baranof Island is generally very steep and rocky, with high glacier-clad mountains and deep fjords and bays. The rainforest climate and marine conditions are ideal for salmon runs, but the steep streams offer minimal locations where salmon can spawn naturally. The hatchery provides the missing link --- supplying incubators and human-assisted spawning --- to allow salmon to take advantage of these ideal environmental conditions and thrive in this location.
Two lakes nearly 300' in elevation above the hatchery supply the water for incubation and short-term rearing of chum, pink, king, and coho salmon. The hatchery water pipelines also feed four small hydropower generators that make the operation self-sufficient for electricity and heat.
NEWS, EVENTS & RESOURCES
The Port Armstrong Hatchery is permitted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to take up to 105 million pink eggs, 60 million chum eggs, and 5 million combined coho and king eggs (of which kings are limited to 2 million) annually. After hatching, the salmon fry are ponded into freshwater raceways and then into saltwater net pens for short-term rearing before release into the wild to join their wild river salmon relatives at sea. Like all salmon, these fish home in on their natal streams when returning at maturity to spawn in freshwater, producing their next generation of offspring.
As with all the wild salmon, marine survivals depend on ocean conditions and predator pressure and vary radically from year to year. Hatchery salmon returns usually mirror the returns of the wild runs in the area, influenced by the same factors. The egg takes can also vary depending upon the strength of the returns to the hatchery, but can never exceed the permitted levels.
Learn more about Alaska's Private Non-Profit Hatchery Program.