Future salmon | Port View

By Bob McChesney | Apr 13, 2018

Many of you have been asking me about the fish pen that was temporarily located in the guest moorage area of the marina a few weeks ago.

The saltwater net pen is a nonprofit project designed to increase saltwater recreational fishing in the mid-Puget Sound region by delaying the release of salmon into the wild. The net pens usually do not raft inside the marina, but this year they experienced some weather-related damage that required extensive maintenance and repairs before transfer to its more permanent location for raising yearling salmon smolts.

These are not the commercial net pens that have been in the news lately. The net pens at the marina do not raise or harvest Atlantic salmon.

The Port of Edmonds Marina is not a facility for producing protein for mass consumption. Rather, it’s about preserving and protecting native coho (silver salmon) stock.

The coho being reared in this project are hatched and raised at the Issaquah State Salmon Hatchery before coming to Edmonds. After the fish are transferred into the pen at the Port of Edmonds Marina, the pen is moved down to the Edmonds fishing pier, where the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) supply the fish with about 45 pounds of food each week until they are released in June.

The Saltwater Net Pen Project has been in operation since the mid ’80s and was supported by members of Edmonds Trout Unlimited, which also managed the Willow Creek hatchery in Edmonds. Both volunteer projects were under the guidance of WDFW.

Recently, the Sno-King Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers have taken over the management of the Saltwater Net Pen Project and continue to rely on volunteers from various groups, including staff from the Port of Edmonds and longtime project volunteers such as Walt Thompson.

About 30,000 fish will be released this year. The goal is to strategically release the fish during a time in which their inclination is not to migrate out into the ocean.

By taking them out of their typical migration pattern of traveling north to Canada and Southeast to Alaska, they will instead become residents of the Puget Sound.

The Port of Edmonds is a longtime, proud sponsor of the Saltwater Net Pen Project. Recreational fishing is good family fun when the sun shines in summer.

Soon, we hope.



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