Main Bay is an estuary on the east coast of the Kenai Peninsula, that extends northeast for 3.5 miles (5.6 km) to Prince William Sound, about 81 miles (131 km) west of Cordova and 28 miles (45 km) southeast of Whittier, Alaska. The descriptive name was given in 1913 by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.
The Main Bay Hatchery was built in 1981 as a chum salmon hatchery and is owned by the State of Alaska. Since 1990, the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation manages and operates the facility for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game under a 20-year professional services agreement at no cost to the state. Main Bay is the first sockeye smolt-producing hatchery in the world. Since 1998, the hatchery has concentrated solely on rearing sockeye salmon for the Coghill Lake fishery, and the facility is currently permitted for 12.4 million sockeye salmon eggs annually.
In Alaska, private non-profit hatchery associations may catch and sell a portion of returning adult salmon for cost recovery. Annual management plans define target revenue goals to meet the annual budget needs and define how many fish need to be caught to meet those revenue goals. Fish processors are licensed to catch a portion of the returning hatchery-born salmon for a fee. The live fish are valuable to the processors because of their freshness and dependable availability. The cost recovery fishery is in Main Bay and is locally referred to as a gillnet rodeo. Read more here and here. Explore more of Main Bay here: