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Dylan Burbank (left) and David Campbell, fish technicians for the non-profit Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association, Inc. (NSRAA), sorting chum salmon at a man-made spawning channel near Herman Creek located near Haines, Alaska. A shot gun is kept at the ready should grizzly bears become a threat. The day before this photo was taken, a grizzly bear charged Burbank and Campbell’s truck when it arrived at the work site. Coolers store harvested eggs and milt.
NSRAA bult the channel to collect wild broodstock by harvesting spawning female and male salmon for their eggs and milt to artificially spawn wild chum salmon. The eggs are fertilized with milt and placed in stream-side incubation boxes on Herman Creek and the Klehini River. In 2014, 2.4 million eggs were seeded into these incubation boxes. The 2013 incubation box survival rate was 90%. Without the artificial spawning, natural survival is said to be only 10%.
Based in Sitka, Alaska, NSRAA conducts salmon enhancement projects in northern southeast Alaska. It is funded through a salmon enhancement tax (of three percent) and cost-recovery income. NSRAA also produces sockeye, chinook, and coho salmon.
Male chum salmon return to Herman Creek to spawn with female chum salmon during the fall chum salmon run. The chum salmon return to freshwater Herman Creek, tributary of the Klehini River after living three to five years in the saltwater ocean. Spawning only once, chum salmon die approximately two weeks after they spawn.
Chilkat River and Klehini River chum salmon are the primary food source for one of the largest gatherings of bald eagles in the world. Each fall, bald eagles congregate in the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve.
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- © John L. Dengler
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Alaska America David Campbell Dylan Burbank Haines Herman Creek Herman Creek spawning channel Keta salmon Klehini River NSRAA North America Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association Oncorhynchus keta U.S. US USA United States United States of America agriculture animal animals aquaculture artificial spawning calico salmon chum salmon cooler dog salmon fauna fish gun keta nature outdoor outdoors outside salmon shot gun southeast Alaska vertical wildlife
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