For the past five years, coho salmon smolt specifically released for Whittier Harbor and Passage Canal have failed to return as adults. Other nearby coho salmon fisheries in Prince William Sound, which have the same smolt, have not experienced the same declines in returning adult coho.
Hoping to stave off a sixth year of dismal coho returns, the Whittier Boat Owners Association held its monthly meeting in Anchorage on Jan. 21 to address the issue. The objective was to get a better understanding about why the Whittier coho run has declined and what can be done to restore it.
Sixty people attended the meeting, which included three representatives from Fish and Game, four representatives from Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation, and one commercial fisherman.
David Lofland, a member of the Whittier Boat Owners Association, is also quite familiar with the fishery and trolls for silvers in Whittier Harbor and Passage Canal. He spoke to the Turnagain Times on the phone Feb. 13 to share what was discussed at the meeting.
“We’re fact finding at this point,” said Lofland. “We just want to look at all of the facts and see if we can get the fishery back. When you look at the benefits of such a fishery, look at Valdez, look at Seward. Tell those guys that a silver salmon sport fishery isn’t a big thing. Those fisheries are huge.”
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