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January 2016 Fishlines Newsletter


Coming up

Alaska Sea Grant Resilience Specialist Hired

photo of Davin Holen

Alaska Sea Grant welcomes Davin Holen as the new Marine Advisory coastal community resilience specialist based in Anchorage. In his faculty position Holen will provide Alaska community residents with tools for hazard mitigation, economic resilience, and climate change adaptation planning. He begins work this month.

Holen grew up in Alaska’s Susitna Valley, and is a skiing and running enthusiast. He has worked as a subsistence program manager at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, taught anthropology at UAA, and published a long list of professional articles on Alaska community sustainability. He is close to completing a PhD program in anthropology—his dissertation title is Fishery Dependent Communities in Coastal Alaska: Salmon, People, and Place.

The Marine Advisory coastal community resilience specialist positon is funded by Alaska Sea Grant, the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy (ACCAP), Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS), National Sea Grant, and NOAA National Weather Service, Climate Office, and National Ocean Service.

Alaska Fisheries Access Workshop Offers Solutions to Permit Loss

Byron Mallot speaking to group Alaska Lt. Governor Byron Mallott

Permit banks, community-based fishing trusts, educational permits, apprenticeships, or local small-scale community fisheries could help turn around the loss of fishing access by Alaskans, say participants at the recent workshop Fisheries Access for Alaska—Charting the Future.

Alaska coastal communities have seen a significant decline in limited entry fishing permits and quota held by local residents. From 1975 to 2013 Alaska “rural local” permits declined from roughly 8,000 to 6,000, and nonresident permits increased from about 3,000 to 3,300. Nonresidents hold nearly a quarter of all permits. In addition, entry of younger Alaskans into fishing has lagged—in 1975 the average age of transferable permit holders was 42.7 and by 2013 it was 49.7. In some rural communities, fishing access is down to a few individuals and the entry rate by young people is minimal.

Governor Walker’s Fisheries Transition Committee has made a key recommendation—“prioritize and improve fishery access for Alaskans by developing policies, strategies, and management to return fishery access opportunities to residents of Alaska’s fishing communities” as one of five top mandates for the state.

Alaska Sea Grant and partners stepped up to organize the 2016 workshop on solutions to the permit shift, bringing together experts from Alaska, the US East Coast, Europe, and Iceland. The 35 presenters and 100 attendees at the January 12–13 meeting, held in Anchorage, represented fishing associations, coastal communities, and Native organizations and tribes. Also contributing were state and federal regulators, legal advisors, and academics.

Alice Ruby, from the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation, summarized programs they implemented on interest rate assistance, permit brokerage, grants, and business training and counseling for individual fishermen. “We have 850 residents from 17 Bristol Bay communities involved in our programs. For the grant program we require commitment to training and classes, and that is one of the challenges,” said Ruby. Kelly Wachowicz piqued interest in a new nationwide initiative—Strengthening US Fishing Communities—with impact investment by strongly endowed foundations.

Alaska Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins has drafted a bill that would create community-based fishing permit banks to enable new entry. While the State of Alaska can’t discriminate against citizens of other states, there may be some leeway. “The legislature would have a good chance at success if they can show that restricting permits to Alaskans has a positive goal and is aimed at solving a specific problem—that is key,” said attorney Jim Brennan at the workshop.

Lt. Governor Byron Mallott introduced day two of the workshop. "The topic of this meeting is one of the most important public policy matters to pursue today. … Fisheries is the opportunity. The marketplace cannot be the only determining factor,” he said.

An online and printed proceedings of the meeting will be published in July. Visit the Fisheries Access workshop web page to view the agenda, videos, and presentation slides.

Workshop steering committee members are Paula Cullenberg, Alaska Sea Grant; Linda Behnken, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association; Courtney Carothers, Fisheries, University of Alaska Fairbanks; Edward Davis, Haa Aani, LLC; Rachel Donkersloot, Alaska Marine Conservation Council; Duncan Fields, Shoreside Consulting; Nicole Kimball, Alaska Department of Fish and Game; Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, Alaska State Legislature; Norman Van Vactor, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation; and Bob Waldrop, consultant.

New Publication to Increase Alaska Seafood in School Lunches

Alaska Seafood Purchasing Guide for Schools

Alaska Sea Grant recently published the booklet Alaska Seafood Purchasing Guide for Schools, by Jennifer Nu, Quentin Fong, and Andrea Bersamin of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The guide can help school food buyers purchase Alaska seafood for student lunches, by making use of information on suppliers, fish species and product form, and delivery options in different regions. The authors lead the Alaska “fish to school” program, with the goal of enhancing food security, improving diet quality in Alaska communities, and strengthening local and regional markets for sustainably harvested fish.

Resilience Seen in Auke Creek Pink Salmon

photo of Chris Manhard Chris Manhard

Alaska Sea Grant–funded student Chris Manhard defended his PhD thesis last month on environmental, biological, and genetic influences on local adaptation of pink salmon. His advisor is professor Tony Gharrett.

Manhard analyzed demographic and genetic data from seasonally structured brood lines of pink salmon—distinct early and late groups that return from the ocean to Auke Creek to spawn. He found that fine-scale local adaptation can enhance productivity of salmonid fish populations while providing resilience to climate change.

The Auke Creek area has experienced environmental changes such as increased weather variability and earlier spring warming of the nearshore environment. Manhard found that despite these changes and the resulting genetic evolution against late-migrating fish, population sizes in Auke Creek have remained stable. Thus seasonal structure of migration time has supported sustained pink salmon productivity in a changing climate.
Manhard earned his master’s in 2012, also on pink salmon genetics.

2016 Seafood Training

students canning fish

Alaska Sea Grant is supporting economic development in the state by offering eight seafood processing classes in 2016, in both Anchorage and Kodiak.

In February seafood specialist Chris Sannito will teach HACCP and Better Process Control School in Anchorage. In March, 22 future leaders in the seafood industry will learn about leadership and business as they continue in the 5th Alaska Seafood Processing Leadership Institute. They will also attend Seafood Expo North America in Boston.

Featured in April is a Roe Workshop at the UAF Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center. Sannito will teach sujiko and ikura processing, salt/sodium nitrite testing, packaging, roe grading, and seafood roe forms.

Also in Kodiak, HACCP classes are on the agenda for May and November, the latter followed by a Seafood Processing Quality Control Training. The popular Smoked Seafood School will be taught in October, where fish smokers will learn basic principles; safety of smoked products; brining; filleting sockeye for curing and cold smoking; hot-smoking chum, coho, and black cod; and preparation of fish sausage.

Most classes are offered to Alaska seafood industry employees in collaboration with the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership cooperative agreement, administered by the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference.


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