Chinese visitors to Juneau take interest in hatchery

Posted: Friday, September 06, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Many Juneau tourists take home a fish or two, but the delegation from Mishan, China, has its eye on a hatchery.

After touring the Douglas Island Pink and Chum hatchery, Mishan Mayor Wang Baotian said building a salmon hatchery will be his priority when he returns home.

Baotian and three other Mishan city officials were in Juneau for three days to further a sister-city relationship between the two cities.

Visiting Douglas Island Pinks and Chums Tuesday left a great impression on the delegation, Baotian said through translator Stanley Zhang. The four officials from Mishan spent several hours at DIPAC with Executive Director Jon Carter.

''They just were very impressed with the facility and they did ask what it would cost to build one,'' so I suspected they were thinking along that line, Carter said.

One of my answers to them was this took more than 20 years to build and there were many failures as well as successes, so its not something they could just decide to do and do it out of hand.

Baotian hopes to call upon more advice from Juneau to start a hatchery. He would like to arrange exchange programs with the University of Alaska fishery program and the university in Mishan. He would also like to make use of the expertise at DIPAC.

The Mishan delegation had not discussed a possible exchange of expertise with Carter yet, and he was not ready to say how much help DIPAC would be willing to give Mishan.

''In one sense you're building competition. In another sense it's nice to be a neighbor,'' Carter said. ''It's particularly sensitive right now when we're struggling so hard with our salmon industry.''

During their three-day visit, the Mishan officials also played table tennis at Juneau-Douglas High School, took a helicopter flightseeing tour with Coastal Helicopters, went to the Mendenhall Glacier and ate at the Salmon Creek Salmon Bake.

The Mishan delegation also was impressed by the tourism in Juneau.

Mishan is trying to develop tourism, and like Juneau it is in a little-known corner of a large country, said Mishan Deputy Mayor Li Lian Chun.

''We want to experience and want to learn from your city,'' Chun said through a translator.

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