Around the Coast
Notes about Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program (MAP) activities.
- Kate Wynne, the marine mammal specialist with the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, surveyed endangered Steller sea lions at the Long Island haulout near the city of Kodiak. She photographed the presence of 33 branded sea lions during two December 2010 surveys. Data Wynne collected about the sea lions helps federal researchers monitor the health of the western stock of Steller sea lions.
- Quentin Fong, the seafood marketing specialist at the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, worked with a resident of the Southeast Alaska community of Klawock who is interested in starting a seafood processing operation. Fong helped him understand the steps involved with attracting investors, including putting together a prospectus and business plan.
- Ray RaLonde, the aquaculture specialist at the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, is helping the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) plan public outreach activities to inform Alaskans about the dangers of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) during this spring and summer recreational shellfish harvest. RaLonde is also helping DEC develop a PSP sampling protocol and handling standards that communities will use if they take part in a proposed community-based PSP monitoring program.
- Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agent Terry Johnson was an integral part of the NOAA/FAO Energy Use in Fisheries Symposium held in Seattle, Nov. 14-17, 2010. Approximately 200 people from all over the world attended the symposium. Johnson served on the conference's steering committee, and moderated a panel on Maintenance and Operating Strategies to Reduce Fuel Consumption and Emissions.
- Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agent Izetta Chambers and fisheries business specialist Glenn Haight were invited speakers during the National Fisherman magazine–sponsored day-long "Profitable Harvest: Direct to Market Forum" in Seattle, WA, Nov. 17, 2010.
- Alaska's National Ocean Sciences Bowl teams coached by MAP agents Sunny Rice in Petersburg and Reid Brewer in Unalaska have been scrimmaging with local state and federal biologists and other Alaska NOSB teams to hone their competitive skills in advance of the Alaska regional competition that takes place over three days beginning Feb. 4 in Seward. Winners of the Alaska competition go on to the national finals for the chance to win prizes and college scholarhips.
- Ray RaLonde, MAP, helped host a four-day shellfish mariculture training workshop in Ketchikan. A shellfish extravaganza drew over 350 people. U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, a strong supporter of shellfish mariculture, attended a session and posed in the group photo. The event raised the awareness of Ketchikan residents on the importance and potential of dive fisheries and the shellfish farming industry.
- Statewide sales of the new book, Field Guide to Seaweeds of Alaska, published by Alaska Sea Grant, have exceeded expectations, with more than 750 copies purchased since the book's September release.
- Glenn Haight, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, has been working with the city of Juneau to conduct the Juneau Cold Storage Feasibility Study. The study, aimed at helping the community determine whether to invest in a public cold storage facility for the local commercial fishing fleet, was approved unanimously by the Juneau Assembly’s Public Works Committee, and will move before the full Assembly for funding consideration on November 8.
- Greg Fisk, a consultant with the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, submitted an application on behalf of the Southeast Alaska shrimp industry—which is facing stiff competition from foreign shrimp processors—for acceptance into the Trade Adjustment Assistance program (TAA). Run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, TAA offers compensation and retraining programs to U.S. agricultural industries displaced by foreign competition. MAP agents Glenn Haight and Sunny Rice will work with the University of Minnesota to develop the training program. Southeast Alaska shrimp fishermen who meet federal qualifications will be eligible to take the training and receive compensation.
- Gary Freitag, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agent based in Ketchikan, gave a presentation to the Ketchikan Dive Club on invasive species monitoring and research. The ten divers who attended may join the effort to look for invasive European green crab, and may photograph suspicious colonies of tunicates.
- Terry Reeve, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agent based in Bethel, continued his annual summer work on the Quinhagak archaeology dig, a partnership with the Native Village of Quinhagak, Aberdeen University and UAF. Concern by community members about erosion of old village sites led to this project. Local residents were provided with part-time work associated with the project that has provided locals with jobs and helped preserve thousands of archaeological items.
- Ray RaLonde, aquaculture specialist with the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, was in Ketchikan Oct. 11–15, teaching aquaculture techniques as part of a National Sea Grant/Alaska Sea Grant project to boost the number of oyster and other shellfish farms in Southeast Alaska.
- Ray RaLonde, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, spoke at the Alaska Environmental Health Association's annual training workshop. He discussed the current and future threats posed by marine biotoxins in Alaska, and participated in a multiagency work session designed to coordinate notification and response to paralytic shellfish poison incidences.
- Sunny Rice and Glenn Haight, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, hosted the first joint meeting of Cooperative Extension Service and MAP extension agents. The purpose of the meeting was to share information, enhance communication and talk about possible collaboration.
- Torie Baker, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agent in Cordova, met with Louisiana Cooperative Extension personnel and Mississippi shellfish researchers, who came to Alaska to learn about the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
- Sunny Rice, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agent in Petersburg, helped a team of Sea Grant–funded researchers complete the first field season of a study to learn how sea otters, believed to be increasing in number, may be impacting commercial and subsistence crab fishermen and the region's shellfish dive fisheries. The researchers, which included University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate student Zach Hoyt and two interns, conducted sea otter prey studies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a partner in the study, conducted aerial counts of sea otters in waters around Petersburg in an effort to establish a population estimate.
- Reid Brewer, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program agent in Unalaska, was an instructor at the Qawalangin Tribe culture camp, where he taught marine safety and survival, intertidal subsistence foods, and marine mammal anatomy and ecology to 65 children and 20 adults.
- Kate Wynne, the marine mammal specialist with the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, surveyed the whale populations in northern Kodiak waters during July–August. She and her team photographed 40 humpbacks and 15 fin whales. The whales appeared to be diving to 80+ fathoms and feeding on zooplankton, primarily copepods.