The Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association is releasing chum salmon in Thomas Bay near Petersburg and expects the first adult returns there in 2019. (Joe Viechnicki/KFSK)

Petersburg’s borough assembly this week went on record in favor of Alaska salmon hatcheries. The assembly Monday passed a resolution in support of the hatchery program in the state and highlighting the economic importance of those enhanced fish to Petersburg’s fishing fleets.

Assembly member Jeigh Stanton Gregor explained his support for the resolution. “First off I’ll definitely be voting in support of this resolution because the salmon hatchery program has been critical to our fleet here in Petersburg and as we know salmon is the life-blood of this community and making our stance clear in support of this salmon hatchery program seems like a straight no-brainer to me,” Stanton Gregor said.

The resolution will go to the state’s Board of Fisheries, which is planning a public discussion on Alaska hatchery salmon this month. That discussion will be during a work session October 15th and 16th in Anchorage. A Kenai River sportfishing organization and a former Board of Fish member are proposing limits or reductions to hatchery production statewide and in Prince William Sound. They are concerned with hatchery fish impacting wild stock salmon and straying into streams near where they are released.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports that 25 hatchery facilities operate in Southeast and South-Central Alaska. Commercial fishermen last year caught 47 million hatchery salmon, worth 331 million dollars at first wholesale. The facilities in 2017 were permitted to take a combined two and a half billion eggs for producing future generations.

Petersburg’s resolution voiced support for the Ketchikan-based Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association or SSRAA, which operates the hatchery at Blind Slough south of Petersburg. The assembly also voted to include the Sitka-based Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association, or NSRAA, in the resolution.