Salmon return to Agate Passage fish pens | Photo Slideshow

Staff photos by Brad Camp.

SUQUAMISH — A fish pen on Agate Passage is teeming with salmon this week, after seven years spent vacant.

The Suquamish Tribe transferred 265,000 coho smolt from the Gorst Hatchery to a net fish pen between Suquamish and Bainbridge Island on Monday. Tribal biologists are using the pen to acclimate the juvenile fish to the salt water environment before releasing them into Puget Sound. Biologists also hope the location will become imprinted on the salmon, so they will return to spawn in the Agate Passage area.

The fish pen is 70,000-square feet — roughly 1.5 acres — in area. In its first 20 years of operation, the tribe released 600,000 salmon a year from the Agate Passage pen.

The pen was closed in 2003 because of budget constraints, according to a Suquamish Tribe news release.

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