Kitsap: Annual Coho Fish Transfer a Success

The Kitsap Sun and North Kitsap Herald published reports about the annual transfer of coho salmon smolts from the state’s George Adams hatchery in Shelton to the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s net pens in Port Gamble Bay near Kingston. The fish will stay in the net pens until June, when they’ll be released. The fish are expected to return to the bay in a year and a half, the typical growth period of an adult coho salmon. The fish were transferred via a 1,700-foot pipe from a circular tank on the shore to the net pens in the bay.

From The Kitsap Sun:

Piping juvenile coho salmon from the shore to net pens in Port Gamble Bay has proved to be less stressful for the fish and easier on the crew making the transfer, said Paul McCollum, natural resources director for the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.

For nearly 30 years, the tribe moved salmon from trucks into a barge and floated the barge out to the offshore net pens. But McCollum said the piping method — used commonly in Alaska, where he previously worked — places the fish into the pens about an hour faster than using the barge.

“The faster you get them out of high-density conditions, the better,” McCollum said.