Fish are important to us. The Kenai Peninsula has over 30 species of fish including freshwater residents, anadromous (sea-run) fish, estuarine fish, and non-natives(Northern pike). All five species of wild Pacific salmon live here, with an average annual production of 5 million sockeye,3 million coho, 1 million chum, xx pink, and 150,000 chinook. (Need to check numbers-harvest+escapement).The fish populations on the Peninsula are generally healthy, however the condition of fish habitat is largely unknown and unmonitored. Wild fish are thought to have sufficient intact habitat to sustain historical populations despite habitat loss, but this loss is assumed to have reduced the resiliency of fish populations to withstand future natural and human-caused disturbances.
The Kenai Peninsula relies upon fish as a subsistence resource for rural and Alaska Native residents, and as an important economic engine.
- Collectively, salmon provides over $300 million the local economy
- Other freshwater and marine fish provide over an estimated $100 million
- Commercial value of halibut for the Cook Inlet region was estimated at over $52 million. About one third is processed in the Cook Inlet region.
- Shellfish have a value of $8 million to KPB docks
- The Kenai Peninsula Borough is a world-class destination for sport fishing
- Fish are an important food source for brown and black bear, bald eagles, marine mammals, and other animals. These animals draw tourists to the Kenai Peninsula.
- Tourism in the Borough generated $161 million in taxable sales in 2010