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CIAA provides schools salmon life cycle posters

Based on our sign at Homer Harbor and our Trail Lakes and Port Graham hatcheries, we're making a version available to local schoolteachers.

by | October 5, 2022

The salmon life cycle poster produced by CIAA for area classrooms.

Two years ago, Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association (CIAA) produced our Enough For All sign for the Homer harbor fish cleaning station. The sign explains the stages of the salmon life cycle and CIAA’s role in enhancing salmon fisheries in the Cook Inlet region. We produced similar signs for our hatchery visitors at Trail Lakes.

Based on a request from a local schoolteacher, we did a new version of the sign for area classrooms. While the original sign was four-feet wide, the new one is a more convenient 24-by-18 inches. It might be a little hard to read the image at the top of this post, so we’ve provided the text of the poster below.

The Stages of Salmon Life Cycle

  • Eggs — In the fall, salmon deposit eggs in gravel nests. Adult salmon die after spawning.
  • Alevin — Alevin hatch from the eggs and remain in their nests until they absorb their yolk sac. In the spring, they emerge as fry.
  • Fry — Fry spend one or two years in fresh water. They grow and develop parr marks to help avoid predators.
  • Smolt — When fry turn silver, they are called smolt.
  • Adult — Salmon mature after spending one to three years in the ocean.
  • Spawners — In the summer and fall, adults return to their original spawning areas or the place where they were released by an Alaskan hatchery.
  • And the life cycle begins again…

How CIAA helps

  • Aquaculture workers fertilize eggs with milt from spawning salmon. The eggs are incubated in the hatchery.
  • Salmon incubated in hatcheries become fry and smolt. In the spring, they are released into lakes or the ocean.
  • Hatcheries improve the survival of young salmon because there are no predators, and the environment is more controlled.
  • Salmon transport nutrients in ecosystems, and support commercial, sport, subsistence, and personal use fishing.

Pink salmon

In Lower Cook Inlet, we raise fry bound for the ocean at our hatcheries at Tutka Bay Lagoon and Port Graham, where pink salmon return as adults.

Coho salmon

Eggs collected from returning adults at Bear Lake grow into fry and smolt at our Trail Lakes Hatchery. These baby fish are released back to Bear Lake and then return to be harvested in the Resurrection Bay fisheries, including the Silver Salmon Derby.

Sockeye salmon

Eggs collected from returning adults at Bear Lake, Hidden Lake and our Tutka Bay Lagoon Hatchery are incubated at our Trail Lakes Hatchery. These baby fish are released back into Bear Lake, Resurrection Bay, Hidden Lake, and Lower Cook Inlet. The China Poot fishery and nearly 100% of the sockeye fisheries in Resurrection Bay are provided by CIAA.


Through a two percent commercial fishing harvest tax and hatchery cost recovery, Cook Inlet commercial fishermen support commercial, subsistence, personal use, and sport fishing.

We know students learn about the salmon resource based on their visits to our hatcheries and thank you cards like this one from a student in Port Graham.

Teachers, would you like a poster for your classroom?

We have 40 posters on hand for local schoolteachers. If you’re a teacher, and you’d like one for your classroom, please let us know using the request for below.

We’re also working with the Chugach Regional Resource Commission to produce a version of the poster with Sugpiaq translations of some of the terms. If you would like to be on a list to receive the Sugpiaq version, you may also use the form below.

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