by Klondike Kid
Coded-Wire Tagging Coho Smolt
Not long ago we had the opportunity to visit one of the remote projects the Alaska Department of Fish & Game is engaged in on the Moose River.
One of the responsibilities of Fisheries biologists is to insure a healthy stock of fish for future generations. To do this many different studies, surveys and projects are initiated....some quite unique and specific to an individual drainage or run of fish....and some covering a broader scope where many species might be harvested from many river systems.
Until 1992 the Department of Fish & Game did not know what contribution the Moose River drainage was making to the annual return of coho salmon entering Cook Inlet and the Kenai River system. The Moose River is a tributary to the Kenai.
This species is harvested by a number of groups.....commercial salmon fishing takes about 25% of the harvest, a small number (1%) are caught in the Personal Use/Subsistence fishery and the majority of the fish, about 75%, are caught by sport anglers fishing the Kenai River system.
The Coho coded-wire tagging program on the Moose River is an annual project. And coho salmon are an ideal fish to study. Once they leave their fresh water nursery and enter the ocean, they are only in saltwater one year before returning to their home streams to spawn. With such a short life cycle, management changes in fishery harvests can be assessed in as few as two years.
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