3.01.2015

Salmon in Alaska

Last summer I traveled all around Alaska and it happened to be breeding season for none other than... Salmon. While on a tour one of the stops we made was to the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery located in Juneau, Alaska. Salmon is my least favorite fish to eat personally (as I'm an Orange Roughy lover), although a lot of people do enjoy eating it raw, dry, baked, smoked, etc.
Inside Macaulay Hatchery
Salmon go through a lot during breeding season and really take a beating (we're talking one ugly salmon by the end of it). Not only do they travel far distances but they have to fight the cold water elements (it's around 40F during spawning season in these Alaskan waters) such as water current, rocks, animals, people, and other various things along their long journey. Not to mention that once spawning is over these fish die and become a food source for many plants and animals. Salmon hatcheries have helped increase the numbers of salmon over the years, and they even use mild electrical currents in parts of the hatchery to help relax the salmon from their rough spawning journey.
video
Salmon in the hatchery
Touch pool area inside Macaulay Hatchery
I don't think I had ever heard of a "fish ladder" before this trip, but a "fish ladder" is basically a man made waterway over a naturally occurring area of water which enables fish such as salmon to better travel up/down stream as they jump up out of the water to reach breeding grounds.
video
A Fish Ladder at Macaulay Salmon Hatchery
Fish Ladder in Ketchikan, AK
If you happen to be on a cruise around Alaska they will probably try and tell you (video's and all) that you are eating salmon from Alaska on-board the ship... but upon deeper research from more knowledgeable people on-board you may like to know that it is not at all salmon from Alaska (depending on your cruise line) and it is more than likely salmon from places like Norwegia (ahh..I smell some salmon competition, haha).
View from my room on the cruise ship.
While on the cruise it was rare for us to see any whales, etc but we did see our fair share of bald eagles making a meal of some salmon. Our cruise-line would not let you bring any type of food/drink back onto the ship from any of the Alaskan ports (unless you are a staff member), although you could pay to have something shipped out. So if you want to eat some Alaskan salmon than I would suggest eating off-board the ship while at a port in Alaska (but that is just my 2-cent tip).
Fishing boats in Ketchikan, AK
There are several different types of fishing boats used for salmon fishing in Alaska and each has a different intended purpose for the fish caught. Some boats are best used for selling whole fish while others are best intended for canning, etc. We even saw the famous 'Time Bandit' (from the show Deadliest Catch) boat cruising along these waters.
Glacier in Alaska
Glacier water is some of the prettiest colored water I have ever seen (the pic doesn't do it justice) as it's a pale blue-green shade (you can see the glacier between the mountain here and a waterfall off to the right), and Alaska has tons of waterfalls with really huge steep mountains. If you've never been to Alaska I definitely recommend going (keep in mind a lot of tourist things aren't available for people outside of the summer months because Alaska basically turns into a ghost town)!

No comments: