About the Net Pen

Everett Marina Salmon Rearing Net Pen

Located in the Everett Marina at the visitors dock, just below Anthony’s Restaurant,  a 17 by 27 foot pen now annually rears nearly 25,000 coho salmon for release into Puget Sound.   Each January, fry about 4 inches in length are placed in the net pens and are fed daily until they acclimate to the brackish (mixed fresh and salt water) environment and reach a length of 7 to 9 inches in late May.  They are then released into Port Garner.  Their increased size  and improved strength gives the smolts a clear advantage in survival when they are released to forage on their own.  This net pen operation is believed to contribute to the resident coho fishery enjoyed by Puget Sound fishermen, since many of the released fish may be acclimated to remain inside Puget Sound instead of migrating to ocean waters like their naturally spawned brethren.

The fry are provided by the WDFW’s Wallace River hatchery near Gold Bar, about 35 miles upstream of the mouth of the Snohomish River (which is located near the marina).  Volunteers from the Boeing Rod and Reel Club and Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club feed the fry daily with pelletized commercial feed.  If you happen to be dining on the waterfront during a slack tide, you might be treated to the sight of a club member throwing the feed pellets on the water’s surface inside the perimeter of the net.  If you were to approach close enough to observe the feeding,  you would see the thousands of hungry fish rising and swirling to consume the feed pellets.  The fish consume about 50 pounds of pellets weekly when they are first introduced to the net pen.  By the time they are ready for release, they will be consuming nearly 150 pounds per week as they begin their early life cycle of growing, maturing, and returning to spawn.

Since 2004 when the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club took over management from the founding Salt Water Anglers of Mukilteo (SWAM), over 137,000 coho salmon have been reared and released.  This cost-effective project is operated through labor by club volunteers and donated, goods and services.  In 2010, these contributions were valued at more than $13, 500   from our sponsors and partners:

  • Port of Everett—moorage space for the net pen at the marina
  • Stilly-Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force--financial contribution for maintenance and operations
  • WDFW—the  fish and pelletized feed
  • Stillaguamish Tribe—loan and use of net pen

The development and operation of the net pen demonstrates the proactive attitude on the part of concerned sportsmen and women who want their heritage of salmon fishing in Puget Sound to survive and the resource available for the future.

Last Updated on Saturday, 29 October 2011 21:53

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