In the late 1800s, salmon traps dominated the landscape of commercial fishing in Alaska. For nearly 70 years, the salmon traps efficiently harvested massive volumes and controversy eventually ended the practice when Alaska gained statehood. The traps were primarily ran by large processors in the lower 48, which angered Alaskan locals and spawned the days of “Fish Pirates,” who would steal from these traps in a Robin Hood style liberation of resources. With the advent of statehood, fish traps were retired and and the limited entry permit system that we all know today was put into place. A few relics of fish traps exist today in Excursion inlet and many fishermen still frequent the locations of the old salmon traps, but those days have passed. However, Metlakata recently implemented a modern fish trap that might be an example of the future of fish traps. Is it possible that fish traps could return to Alaska waters? Only time will tell. Enjoy the video below to get a perspective of what it was like when fish traps were everywhere. Also, there are links below to explore the history on your own.
- Ports Of Call | Craig, Alaska | The Key To The Coast (juneautek.com)
- Salmon Traps In Alaska: An Economic Perspective (alaskaskool.org)
- Lecture On Salmon Traps In Alaska (sitnew.us)
- Alaska Salmon Traps: The History and Impact On Alaskan Communities (uaa.alaska.edu)