King Salmon Eggs Sorted at Hatchery
Being raised for state’s fish-stocking program
ANCHORAGE - The total number of king salmon that returned this year was lower than state biologists and hoped, but they were still able to collect around 1.7 million eggs.
The eggs are being reared in Anchorage at the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery for the state's stocking program.
It was a crucial week for staff at the hatchery because there's only a small window of opportunity when the Chinook eggs are strong enough to be handled and counted.
“At this stage of development the outside of the egg begins to harden and become ridged,” said Bob McFadden, supervisor of early rearing and incubation at the hatchery.
McFadden and his staff were carefully putting the eggs through a machine Friday that separates the unfertilized from the fertilized.
"We’re trying to remove as many dead eggs as possible because once we get them back into the incubators during hatch those eggs will start to decay,” said McFadden.
"As the eggs spin around, a photo eye which is located behind shoots a beam of light through. If the light cannot got through the egg it spits the egg out with a force of air,” he said.
Even though there is a shortage of eggs this year, McFadden says the four key waterways, including Ship Creek and Willow Creek, will be fully stocked when the young salmon are ready.
Locations that aren’t used for broad stock around Southcentral will not have as many salmon released this year.
McFadden says the egg survival rate of at least 90 percent is higher than in the past because the new facility has better water quality and temperature control.