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October 2016 Fishlines Newsletter


Long-term Challenges to Alaska’s Salmon and Salmon-Dependent Communities is a workshop coordinated by the Center for Salmon and Society. It is November 1–3, 2016 at the Dena'ina Center in Anchorage, Alaska.

Fishlines newsletter

Vol. 36, No. 10
October 2016


Coming up


Preserving Alaska’s Salmon Culture and Economy

artwork with salmon and map of Alaska

Alaskans and Alaska communities are deeply linked to salmon for food and economic input, and for their cultural well-being. In recognition of the importance of salmon to Alaska, a new Center for Salmon and Society has been launched at UAF. Next month, the Center will collaborate with Alaska Sea Grant and other partners to host a workshop to identify and prioritize challenges to this critical resource.

Long-term Challenges to Alaska’s Salmon and Salmon-Dependent Communities will be held November 1–3 in the Dena’ina Center in Anchorage. Stakeholders and experts will consider habitats and salmon sustainability, and the challenges to long-term viability of communities and commercial, sport, and subsistence fishing for salmon. Speakers, panels, and breakout groups will address ways Alaskans can maintain a thriving salmon culture and economy.

The workshop is open to the public. Registration is $50 through October 28 and will increase to $75 after that date.


Climate-Related Community Displacement

house on edge of eroding coastline

The Symposium on Climate Displacement, Migration and Relocation, to be held in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, December 13–14, 2016, will explore legal and policy questions concerning climate change–related impacts on human displacement, migration, and relocation—internal and cross-border—with an emphasis on effects on the United States.

Symposium hosts are the White House Council on Environmental Quality, NOAA Office for Coastal Management, the Environmental Law Program of the William S. Richardson School of Law (University of Hawaiʻi), and the Alaska and Hawaiʻi Sea Grant Programs. Alaska Sea Grant–sponsored Knauss Fellow, Erin Shew, is a key organizer of the symposium.

Participants, including at-risk Alaskans, will explore the challenges of addressing climate-related displacement, US domestic displacement and community-led relocation, migration in or from the Pacific Islands, and common needs and opportunities for affected communities. Online registration will open at the end of October on the Alaska Sea Grant website.


Addressing Climate Change in Southeast Alaska

people in a meeting

Southeast Alaska residents have concerns about climate change—most of them connected to water. Safe natural resources are a prime issue, in face of changes such as heavy rains causing flooding, ocean acidification, warmer waters, and snowfall variation, as well as invasive species, toxins, and warm spring seasons followed by frost affecting wild berry production.

To help communities address concerns, Davin Holen, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory coastal community resilience specialist, collaborated in organizing the Southeast Alaska Climate Change Summit last month in Ketchikan. Holen invited researchers who work on resources that are culturally important—salmon, yellow cedar, berries, shellfish, cultural sites, and human health.

Participating in the conference were 50 environmental managers and coordinators from Southeast Alaska tribes, and 30 professionals representing federal and state agencies, the University of Alaska, and nonprofits. Ketchikan Marine Advisory agent Gary Freitag gave a talk on aquaculture opportunities.

Chris Whitehead and Esther Kennedy from the Sitka Tribe of Alaska described current activities monitoring ocean acidification and testing for paralytic shellfish poisoning, and Ray Paddock from the Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) discussed plans for a 2017 survey to monitor fish consumption rates and water quality, to better understand seafood contamination.

One of the summit outcomes is that local groups will collaborate with each other and with the US Forest Service and Southeast Alaska nonprofits, such as the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, on citizen science monitoring and encouraging the engagement of youth. Monitoring programs on stream flow and temperature are possibilities.

“Tribes in Southeast Alaska have recognized impacts from climate change for some time and have taken a proactive approach by involving environmental coordinators from tribes that are funded by the Environmental Protection Act to monitor, mitigate, and adapt,” said Holen. “By the end of the workshop projects and partnerships were emerging and many new ideas were being discussed as a way to move forward with monitoring to establish a baseline for understanding climate change.”

The Bureau of Indian Affairs will fund CCTHITA to draft a climate adaptation plan for Southeast Alaska, which is the next step in the process. The regional plan will be a resource that tribes can draw upon to draft their own plans. “This is exciting as it will be a unique framework and tool for tribes as they decide how to move forward in building more resilient communities,” said Holen.

CCTHITA hosted the summit with funding for tribal participants from the EPA. The North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative funded travel for agencies and others.


Alaska Sea Grant Fellows, Second Round

photo of Jane Sullivan
Jane Sullivan
photo of Sarah Apsens
Sarah Apsens
photo of Jennifer Marsh
Jennifer Marsh

Three 2016 Alaska Sea Grant State Fellows recently started their yearlong jobs in Alaska. The fellowship offers completing graduate students the opportunity to launch careers in marine policy, matching fellows with hosts in state or federal agencies.

Jane Sullivan has earned her MS in fisheries and is now a fishery analyst in Juneau with the National Marine Fisheries Service Sustainable Fisheries Division. “I feel so fortunate to work with this incredibly talented group of people,” said Sullivan. She will work on the Observer Program's Annual Report and Deployment Plan, looking at bycatch and creating interactive graphics.

Sarah Apsens, completing her MS in fisheries science at UAF, is working as a fish biologist at the National Park Service in Anchorage. She will primarily contribute to the development of a long-term monitoring protocol for lagoons in western arctic park lands. “I will also be helping with a whitefish study, and providing assistance to the NPS subsistence team,” she said. “I am enjoying meeting other research scientists and learning about the role of NPS in Alaska.”

PhD student Jennifer Marsh is a fisheries biologist at the NMFS Fisheries Habitat Conservation Division in Anchorage. She will focus on identifying and conserving essential fish habitat through environmental analyses. “This week, I am learning more about modeling. One of my tasks will be to develop model-based essential fish habitat definitions for the Arctic Fishery Management Plan,” she said.

The Alaska Sea Grant State Fellowship program was launched in 2015 with the selection of two fellows. Matt Robinson, who worked for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, was recently hired as a quota manager by the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation. Marysia Szymkowiak spent a year working for NMFS Sustainable Fisheries and is currently working as a contractor for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Alaska Sea Grant shares the cost of the fellow stipends with the agency hosts. Recruitment for next year’s hosts for the Alaska Sea Grant State Fellowship will begin soon, and students can apply in February 2017.


Call for Abstracts Open for 2017 Wakefield Fisheries Symposium

fish in a wave logo

The call for abstracts is open for the 2017 Wakefield Fisheries Symposium, Impacts of a Changing Environment on the Dynamics of High-latitude Fish and Fisheries. The symposium will be held May 9–12, 2017, in Anchorage, Alaska.

Abstracts for oral presentations and posters are invited on the impacts of the environment, including climate change, on arctic and subarctic species of commercial, subsistence, and ecological importance. We invite abstracts from fishery, marine, and social scientists, managers, industry, and representatives of affected communities. Presentations are encouraged on the effects of warming, loss of sea ice, ocean acidification, and oceanographic variability on the distribution, phenology, life history, and population dynamics of these species.

The deadline for abstracts is January 15, 2017.


New Book on Fisheries Access for Alaska

Fisheries Access for Alaska book cover with fisherman standing in the back of a boat

In January 2016 Alaska Sea Grant and partners held a workshop to create a better understanding of the loss of permits and fishing quota by coastal residents, and to suggest strategies to reverse the trend. Speakers and attendees presented state, national, and international possible solutions, including regulatory changes, alternative financing, and education and training.

The content of the presentations and discussions is captured in a new 178 page book, Fisheries Access for Alaska—Charting the Future: Workshop Proceedings, published by Alaska Sea Grant.

Historical perspectives, legal aspects, and cultural rights are also addressed in the book, which can serve as a tool for agencies and others who are working to preserve and enhance community-based fisheries in Alaska.


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