How did Alaska manage the count on fish in the beginning?   Well they didn’t.   Congress had no idea where and/or how much fish was coming from any area.   In the 1890’s, the reports came from the canneries on how much was caught.   This was spread from Southeast to Bristol Bay. According to researcher’s Alaska kept better track of alcohol being shipped rather than the fish being shipped.   In 1905 they had the idea of dividing the information into regions.   This would give a better and accurate more estimate of how much and what was being caught.   Even though numbers were great no one was still managing the Alaska’s portion of fisheries.   William Thompson, a Harvard student, was hired on in 1927 to put some minds at ease using his statistics on why the areas had changed from previous years.   The catch was not as abundant and they had to travel further to get the same numbers.   In the 1950’s US Fish and Wildlife created a coding system that they used for the coast of Alaska. This system is still used today

In 1952, let’s just say Alaskans were not happy with the next outcome.   North Pacific Fisheries Convention was signed.   This gave the Japanese to fish for Salmon in the Bering Sea.   Knowing that this could and will affect Alaska’s number for salmon fishing, Congress thought the relationship with the Japanese was more important.   The only thing they agreed on was the catch numbers.   The INPFC created new areas which went by longitude and latitude to keep track of the estimates of fish that would affect Alaska.   Great history lesson for me was that in 1959 Alaska took statehood.   Finally some order or somewhat.   This meant Alaska was in control of its own fisheries.   Now with new technology and the work of ADF&G   we have better estimates and escapement numbers for our salmon fishing industry.


  1. Had fisheries management been more involved in the early 1960s, it would be interesting to know if we could have increased the salmon population by better managing it. Thanks to the Harvard student for his efforts and willingness to participate in Alaska.

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