Fish and Game asks fishermen to report Atlantic salmon catches

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is asking that fishermen around the state report any Atlantic salmon they catch.

Damage to a salmon farm near Cypress Island off the coast of Washington in the San Juan archipelago caused thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon to escape their pens Aug. 19. Canadian aquaculture company Cooke Aquaculture operates the farm, which it obtained after it purchased Icicle Seafoods in 2016. The state of Washington is coordinating a response to contain the escaped salmon and is working with Cooke Aquaculture to remove the salmon left in the damaged pens, which was ongoing as of Sunday, according to an update from the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Meanwhile, neighboring states — including Alaska — are asking fishermen to keep an eye out for the escaped salmon. Fish and Game issued a press release Aug. 25 asking sport anglers and commercial fishermen to report any Atlantic salmon they catch.

Fishermen should keep the fish, take a picture of it, note the location where it was caught, get a GPS location if possible and upload the location and picture on the Fish and Game website’s invasive species webpage and contact the local Fish and Game office or call the central invasive species office, according to the release.

“Atlantic salmon could potentially compete with native salmon and trout for spawning and rearing habitat and/or introduce pathogens,” the release states. “The salmon that escaped the fish farm in Washington had been treated to prevent disease transmission.”

Atlantic salmon, presumably escaped from salmon farming operations, have been caught in Alaska before. Fish and Game has verified harvests of the fish in Southeast Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula, Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet, in commercial and sport fisheries, according to the release.

Though they look like steelhead and king salmon, they are distinguishable by large black spots on their gill covers and potential damage to their dorsal and tail fins from having been raised in pens, according to the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

Because they are invasive, the regulations on Atlantic salmon are liberal, with harvest allowed year-round in salt and freshwater with no bag, size or possession limit.

Cooke Aquaculture wrote in a release that the cause of the damage is thought to be exceptionally high tides and strong currents. The company is operating under the fish escape and recapture plan it had outlined in policy, according to the release.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at

More in News

Soldotna High School senior Josiah Burton testifies in opposition to the proposed cut of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District theater technicians while audience members look on during a board of education meeting on Monday, March 6, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
School board finance group reviews expenditures ahead of upcoming budget cycle

As the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District prepares to grapple with another… Continue reading

Members of the Kenai/Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Committee raise hands to vote in favor of a proposal during a meeting at Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Silver salmon, personal use fishing discussed by advisory committee

The group set their recommendations on a variety of proposals to the State Board of Fisheries

Hoses pump water along Patrick Drive to help mitigate flooding near Kalifornsky Beach Road on Friday, July 21, 2023, near Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough spent almost $78k responding to flood events during disaster declaration

Most of the funds were spend in the northwest area of Kalifornsky Beach Road

The National Weather Service’s map shows a winter weather advisory, in orange, effective for much of the eastern Kenai Peninsula. (Screenshot)
Heavy snow, blowing winds forecast for Turnagain Pass on Wednesday

Snow accumulations of up to 16 inches are expected

The Kenai Courthouse is seen on Monday, July 3, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Grand jury adds charges in October killing of Homer woman

The indictment was delivered on Nov. 8

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchorage resident arrested in Nikiski after troopers investigate reports of stolen vehicle

Troopers responded to a residential address in Nikiski around 11:30 a.m. after being notified by Sirius XM that a stolen vehicle was there

Santa Claus greets Hudson Reinhardt during Christmas Comes to Kenai festivities at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Getting into the holiday spirit

Christmas arrives in Kenai with fireworks, Santa and a lot of rain

Kinley Ferguson tells Santa Claus what she wants for Christmas during Christmas in the Park festivities on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Creating a winter wonderland

Christmas in the Park to bring Santa, sleigh rides, fireworks on Saturday

Flowers bloom at Soldotna City Hall on Wednesday, June 24, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna to repair failed wastewater pipe

The pipe to be repaired discharges treated effluent into the Kenai River

Most Read