New Salmon Center to Brainstorm Solutions
By Lauren Frisch, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fishermen pull a seine net full of salmon in Chignik Lagoon, Alaska.
Photo by Peter Westley / image courtesy of UAF
A new center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences will identify salmon-related issues in the state and work to develop solutions.
“There are a lot of people at the university who are really interested in salmon and the importance of salmon to Alaska’s people and communities,” said Milo Adkison, a CFOS researcher and director of the new University of Alaska Center for Salmon and Society. “We wanted to create a framework for the university to address these issues in a more coordinated fashion.”
The center’s three primary goals are engagement, research and education.
To engage the public in salmon issues, the center will strive to raise awareness of issues facing salmon and will offer opportunities for the public to provide input on the issues they care most about.
“One of the goals of the center is to respond to what the public feels are the most pressing issues,” Adkison said. “We hope that many of our main projects will be driven by issues that the public cares about.”
The center will pursue new research opportunities, and share and synthesize existing salmon research. Researchers involved with the center are interested in projects that focus on habitat protection and better understanding the multifaceted challenges to salmon-dependent communities.
While workshops already have been held to share research and generate ideas for new projects, the new center will allow for greater coordination of future projects.
Finally, the center will educate the next generation on salmon issues through university courses and other educational opportunities. UAF offers a Salmon and Society class that explores the complex and dynamic connections between salmon and people. This will be the new center’s flagship course, next available in spring 2019.
“The new Center for Salmon and Society provides a forum for open discussion about one of Alaska’s most important natural resources, wild salmon” said Bradley Moran, CFOS dean. “I fully support this new center and its primary goal of addressing the long-term challenges facing Alaska’s salmon and salmon-dependent communities.”
UAF created the Center for Salmon and Society in collaboration with salmon habitat partnerships, Native organizations, state and federal management agencies and researchers from across the state. Funding for the center comes from CFOS, Salmon Connect and the center’s other partners.