The Alaskan fisheries are one of the most diverse and rich sources of seafood in the world. From king salmon to halibut, this region is home to a wide range of fish species, which can be found in all of the major rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans.
The most popular types of Alaskan fish are: king salmon, sockeye salmon, coho salmon, pink salmon, halibut, and Dolly Varden.
King salmon are some of the largest fish in the world. They can grow to be up to 50 pounds and live up to 20 years.
The king salmon migrates from Alaska’s coast to the Bering Sea to spawn. After spawning, they die and their carcasses float back up to the coast. This cycle is repeated throughout the year.
Why do they migrate?
Migrating fish seek a colder, more oxygenated water environment that is not as polluted by man-made chemicals and oil spills as their home waters are. They travel farther for this reason than most other species of fish because it takes them longer to reach their spawning grounds at sea.
King salmon are caught commercially and are a major source of revenue for Alaska’s economy. They also provide sport fishing opportunities for people who enjoy catching large fish.
You can see king salmon at Lake Hazen, located along the south coast of Southeast Alaska. The lake has a large run of king salmon that spawn in the spring and die on their journey back up to the sea. Visitors can watch as salmon are hauled onto docks and caught by commercial fishermen. There are also lots of places for people to take guided trips to try their luck catching a fish.
The different species within the genus Sillago have a common name that tells you where they were spawned in Alaska, like Chignik, Matanuska, or Prince William Sound Chinook. This is followed by another unique name from the particular place they were spawned.
The sockeye salmon fishing season is from May 15 to July 1. The sockeye salmon run from Alaska’s Bristol Bay to the Bering Sea. The sockeye salmon are one of the most sought after fish in Alaska.
Sockeye salmon, also known as silver salmon, are native to the Pacific Ocean. Sockeye salmon are a reddish-orange color and can weigh up to 45 pounds. They are a highly prized game fish in Alaska because they have an oily flesh that makes them more flavorful than most other fish. Sockeye salmon have a short life span, typically living about two years and spawning once every two years or so.
Sockeye Salmon Hatchery
The National Marine Fisheries Service hatchery at Nikiski raises about one million sockeye salmon annually for commercial fishermen in Alaska and for sport fishers around the world. In 2002, over $25 million was spent on the hatchery program at Nikiski alone, including $11 million for research and education activities aimed at improving the productivity of wild stocks through conservation measures like reducing bycatch (fish that get caught when netting larger species like king and chum).
Coho salmon are found in the Pacific Ocean. They are not native to the eastern US and Canada.
There are three different species of coho salmon, each with a slightly different appearance and feeding habits. The first is the sockeye, which lives up to 6 years in the ocean and reaches a maximum size of 1.2 to 1.5 feet long.
The second is the chum, which lives for an average of 4 years and is usually much smaller than the sockeye, ranging in size from 2 to 3 inches long.
The third is the coho salmon, which can grow up to 5 feet in length but usually grows much smaller than that because they spend their time feeding on plankton and algae at depths between 100 to 600 feet below sea level.
Coho salmon do not travel very far, but they are able to swim very long distances as they migrate up and down the coastline.
Coho salmon mature in 2 years and are then on their own until the following spring when they return to their home streams to spawn.
The halibut is a member of the cod family, and is a large, flat-fleshed fish that grows to a length of up to 40 feet. It has two dorsal fins, a long tail and large mouth with sharp teeth.
It can be found in both the North Pacific and Arctic oceans. The halibut is an important food source for commercial fishing operations.
It feeds mainly on crustaceans and other small fish in its environment. Its diet consists primarily of mysids (small crustaceans), such as sand lance, shrimp, crabs, prawns and amphipods.
Halibut are also a source of oil, the liver contains 25-30% oil.
Halibut fishing season begins in early fall and runs through the spring. They mature at three to four years of age, but they can live for 15 years or more. Halibut are slow growing and tend to have a long life span compared with other fish.
Halibut are primarily caught using bottom trawls in cold waters or drift nets in warm waters. A net is placed around an area that is being fished, usually 100 meters from shore, and pulled out from time to time to move fish towards the edge of the net, where they can be easily caught by hand or with rods and lines.
The halibut catches per kilometer of net vary greatly depending on where it is located, but there was a report that the average size was 11kg/22lb; when it has been caught by hand it can weigh up to 50kg/110lb
Pink salmon are found in the northern Pacific Ocean and in some coastal regions of Alaska.
Pink salmon are found in the northern Pacific Ocean and in some coastal regions of Alaska. They spawn in late spring and early summer, migrating to the ocean to feed and spawn. The male salmon (or pink) travel upstream, seeking out fresh water for mating, while the female salmon (or silver) remain near the ocean feeding on plankton.
Pink salmon are anadromous fish that live most of their lives at sea. When they reach sexual maturity, they migrate back to freshwater streams to spawn. The females carry fertilized eggs into streams where they hatch into juvenile fish called parr (pronounced par-re).
When it comes time for these parr to leave freshwater rivers and enter saltwater estuaries, they grow larger and change color from silver to pink as they adapt to saltwater conditions. As adults, they return to freshwater streams to spawn once more before dying.
A dolly varden is a type of trout found in Alaska. They are related to rainbow trout and brook trout and are native to the Chugach Mountains. This fish has red spots on its body that range from small to large, with some even being very large. The spots may be scattered throughout the body or form stripes on the fish’s sides. The spots are more often found on males.
If you are looking for a quick and easy way to learn about amazing Alaskan fish, this is the perfect blog post for you.