Friday, June 20, 2014

Juneau, Alaska: Macaulay Salmon Hatchery

Salmon not only the dinner entree of choice in this part of Alaska, but it's big business. So why not give Mother Nature a little help?

Thus, the Macaulay Salman Hatchery in Gastineau Channel was created. The operation (factory or plant just doesn't seem appropriate here) is designed to grow salmon. There's a six-part process involved. Eggs are collected and fertilized, alevins evenually hatch and turn into salmon fry, and they go through an imprinting process in the pens pictured. The idea is to get them to learn where they are.

Then it is off to the Pacific Ocean. They'll spend two to five years out there, before returning to the Hatchery to spawn. This is a pretty neat trick when you think about it all the way around, and it works from 2 to 10 percent of the time. I'm sure the salmon wind up in some stomachs too, human or others.

Visitors can see the tanks where the little fellers start the process. There's also a large aquarium and a gift shop with plenty of salmon-related items. I'm not sure if I would have gone here on my own (it was part of the tour), but it wasn't a bad stop.

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