SSRAA’s enhancement program mission to “enhance salmon production for the social and economic benefit of the user groups…”, includes the development of a production and release strategy that will maximize fishing opportunity throughout the region. Remote release sites are part of that strategy. SSRAA currently operates three seasonal remote camps for the rearing and release of salmon. Returning adult salmon not intercepted in the more traditional common property corridor fisheries, return to these release sites where a Terminal Harvest Area is established in ADF&G regulation and managed for fishing opportunity specific to this defined harvest area. As part of a large allocation plan salmon released from these sites are directed toward specific fleet opportunities at each site.
The remote camps consist of an array of net pens moored at each site. These net pen arrays are used to hold salmon smolt until they are big enough and environmental conditions are favorable for release. This includes time to establish imprinting to the site and favorable spring plankton blooms that indicate good conditions for foraging as the released smolt start their outmigration to the ocean to grow and ultimately return as adults. Each camp net pen array will have a crew barge moored to it for three to four months annually between January and May. These camp barges are 60 feet long and 24 feet wide. They have a workshop and living quarter structure built on the stern half of the barge. Each year the camp barges are towed to Ketchikan prior to deployment to the remote release sites. During the time at port in Ketchikan SSRAA maintenance personnel ready the barges for the long slow tow.
Salmon are transported from our hatcheries to the remote rearing and release sites by our contract tenders. The smolt are kept in the hold of the tenders for the trip out and then pumped through a fish pump into the net pens. SSRAA has been contracting with the same two tenders for many years. These tenders are customized to do this work. They are the F/V Seven Seas and the F/V Lynda. Often, if you see these vessels running in southern southeast in the winter and early spring, more often than not, they are in the process of moving our fish.
Each camp is operated by a two person crew to care for the fish. Camp life requires following a rigorous daily feeding schedule for the fish, monitoring the condition of the fish in their care, routine net cleanings and camp maintenance. These crews live on board the barges for the duration of the rearing season and are resupplied by sea plane grocery flights as needed and weather permitting.
Anita Bay Terminal Harvest Area and remote release site is located on Etolin Island near Wrangell. Here SSRAA releases up to 22 million summer chum, 500,000 chinook, and 600,000 coho each year. This harvest area serves all three fleets on a seasonal rotational fishing schedule.
Kendrick Bay and McLean Arm located near the southeastern end of Prince of Wales Island combine to act as a single release site and terminal harvest area. Releases annually alternate between Kendrick Bay and McLean Arm. The release at this site is up to 30 million summer chum each year. This provides opportunity directed to the seine fleet fishing within the terminal harvest area, but high numbers of returning adults are intercepted within commercial fishing district 102.
Nakat Inlet Terminal Harvest Area and remote release site in Nakat Inlet releases up to 8 million summer chum, 8 million fall chum, and 600,000 coho each year. Returning adults to this site benefit the troll and gillnet fleet. This particular area allows gillnetters fishing the Tree Point Area to fish over closures within the terminal harvest area if desired.