Vol. 32, No. 12
In November Alaska Sea Grant hosted its annual Advisory Committee meeting in Anchorage. Seventeen members attended to hear about activity highlights from the past year, and to make helpful recommendations. The 2012 Alaska Sea Grant Annual Report, published for the Advisory Committee, summarizes Alaska Sea Grant’s accomplishments, from invasive species work to K–12 scientist programs, including oyster farm support and research on crabs, whales, and sea otters.
Torie Baker, interim Marine Advisory Program director, emphasized increased success by Marine Advisory Agents in getting new grants that will help build stronger economies in coastal Alaska communities. Vocational training, Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit, marine safety training, rural teacher education—these are programs Alaska Sea Grant is proud of. “As we look ahead… We look to what is happening in our communities and serve them as best as we can,” said Baker.
Two UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences graduate students presented their work—Ayla Doubleday told about her progress on The Seasonal and Interannual Patterns of Larvaceans and Pteropods in the Coastal Gulf of Alaska, and Their Relationship to Pink Salmon Survival; and Jennifer Stoutamore presented her research on Identifying Red and Blue King Crab Stocks for Sustainable Harvest and Sustainable Coastal Alaskan Communities. Both students are funded by Alaska Sea Grant.
Updates were also presented by David Christie, Alaska Sea Grant director; Kurt Byers, Education Services manager; Izetta Chambers, Gary Freitag, Terry Johnson, and Julie Matweyou, all Marine Advisory agents; Marilyn Sigman, marine education specialist; and Miranda Westphal, SFOS graduate now at Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Guest speakers were Dean Mike Castellini, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences; Mark Myers, UAF Vice Chancellor for Research; Terry Smith, National Sea Grant; and Amy Holman, NOAA Alaska Regional Team.
Alexandra Oliveira, Brian Himelbloom, Chuck Crapo, and Brennan Smith, all faculty at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, hosted and taught at the Kodiak workshop, Smoking and Salting Fish for Fun and Profit. Fifteen people attended from Alaska and the Lower 48. They learned about safety of smoked products, preparing fish sausage, salting and drying, brining, pickling, and preparing lox. Several local processors supported the workshop by donating salmon, Pacific cod, and blackcod.
According to an article in the Kodiak Daily Mirror, Naknek resident Pam Riddle, who has smoked salmon for 30 years, attended the workshop to learn how to do it commercially. A North Carolina participant came to the workshop to learn how to smoke sturgeon. He and his wife own a sturgeon farm specializing in roe, and they wanted to learn processes to make the meat saleable. The popular smoking workshop has been held twice this year.
Ketchikan hosted the Alaskan Shellfish Growers Association annual meeting, and the OceansAlaska Marine Science Center cosponsored the Shellfish Seafood Festival with close to 400 attending. Ray RaLonde, Marine Advisory aquaculture specialist, conducted three workshops during the meeting—Blue Mussel Aquaculture, Shellfish Technology, and Alaska Shellfish Seed Shortage—and gave presentations. Marine Advisory seafood marketing specialist Quentin Fong gave two talks, on Financial Management for Shellfish Farmers, and Synopsis of the U.S. Mussel Market.
As a first step in implementing a blue mussel aquaculture project, funded by the Alaska Legislature in 2012, RaLonde organized the Blue Mussel Aquaculture Workshop so that farmers could learn about blue mussel farming opportunities in Alaska.
Following RaLonde’s Alaska Shellfish Seed Shortage Workshop, OceansAlaska leaders stepped forward to offer a solution. OceansAlaska has recently geared up to produce oyster seed, and with a commitment from farmers to buy seed they plan to increase their capacity next season.
“We set a goal of 5–10 million oyster seed and 100,000 geoduck seed to relieve the constraint that is holding back the mariculture industry,“ said Gary Freitag, Marine Advisory agent and board president for OceansAlaska.
With out of state suppliers falling short, the Alaska shellfish farming industry looks forward to having an Alaska supplier provide the size of oyster seed most needed by the industry.
Former Alaska Sea Grant–funded student Corinne Hicken won the 2012 Associate Dean Student Publication Award for broad scientific impact, from the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Her research results have been recognized in recent articles focusing on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The publication is Hicken et al. (2011): Sublethal exposure to crude oil during embryonic development alters cardiac morphology and reduces aerobic capacity in adult fish. PNAS 108: 7086–7090. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1019031108
Her study showed that transient exposure of fish embryos to low levels of oil can cause delayed physiological impacts on the performance of adult fishes, based on complex rearing experiments with zebrafish embryos.
Hicken received funding from Alaska Sea Grant for her graduate research through a grant to her major professor, Michael Stekoll, University of Alaska Southeast. She successfully defended her thesis in spring 2012 and graduated with an M.S. in fisheries.
Reid Brewer, Unalaska Marine Advisory agent, traveled to Sitka for the annual WhaleFest, a popular southeast Alaska marine science and community arts event organized by the Sitka Sound Science Center, in early November. Brewer taught octopus dissection classes for the WhaleFest Scientists in the Schools program at Sitka High School, Mount Edgecumbe High School, and Blatchley Middle School. In photo Brewer leads a discussion with middle school students.