Get to know your salmon

One of CIAA’s core values is education. By sharing our knowledge of salmon aquaculture, biology, fisheries management issues, and the scientific and technical techniques used by our staff in the field, we hope to encourage understanding of the important role salmon play in our environment and Alaskan way of life.

From educational programs focused on school children to hosting a booths at local events, CIAA has engaged, listened to, and informed a diverse audience.

Public education programs

Fish anatomy education

CIAA leads salmon dissections at events where little hands are encouraged to help dissect salmon and learn what makes this fish so important to our environment. Such events include the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Salmon the Classroom, where Kenai Peninsula Borough students are given the opportunity to raise coho salmon from egg-to- fry stage in their classrooms. We provide some of the coho salmon used for this program as well as leading salmon dissections. 

Because of the threat posed to salmon by invasive northern pike in the Cook Inlet watershed, we also lead northern pike dissections. During these events CIAA biologists share information such as how to prevent the spread of invasive northern pike. 

Classroom and student collaborations

We seek out and welcome opportunities to engage students on a more routine basis such as working in classrooms throughout the school year. For example, Port Graham Hatchery works with Port Graham School  to introduce students to the hatchery in their village while learning about the multiple facets of hatchery work. This includes managing salmon, using hand tools, and other basic skills hatchery workers may need. 

More recently, CIAA received a grant to assist the Kenai Watershed Forum with the Adopt-A-Stream program, in which a CIAA staff member is an educator assistant visiting up to ten Kenai Peninsula schools a month. 

Another long-term partnership we have engaged is working with Outward Bound, an organization that provides outdoor education programs. Each summer Outward Bound staff bring students to CIAA’s Bear Creek Weir to spend a day working on a service project such as helping with the weir used in Bear Lake for sockeye egg collection. 


For college students studying fisheries, biology, natural resources, and aquaculture, CIAA has provided over 200 internships since 2005. Interns have received fishery field and/or aquaculture experience such as setting up weirs. Some of these interns have even become full-time employees for CIAA or other aquaculture associations in Alaska.

Many of the internships we support are requirements of a student’s particular program or school where they are studying. We also work with the Student Conservation Association to provide internships through their program.