Vol. 32, No. 7
Global Progress in Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management, edited by G.H. Kruse, H.I. Browman, K.L. Cochrane, D. Evans, G.S. Jamieson, P.A. Livingston, D. Woodby, and C.I. Zhang, is a new Alaska Sea Grant book. The 396-page, PDF-only publication is the proceedings of the 26th Wakefield fisheries symposium held in November 2010. Eighteen peer-reviewed papers and a conference summary offer advice for implementing EBFM, and present regional case studies and analytical tools.
Symposium attendees agree that researchers and managers have moved from defining the concept of EBFM to actual implementation. While the cost would be enormous to learn everything there is to know about marine ecosystems, managers can already implement EBFM even in data-limited situations by adopting a risk-based approach. For EBFM, good outcomes can be achieved by applying a precautionary approach with good governance principles for implementation, under suitable political and institutional commitment.
Alaska Sea Grant is distributing the new book Alaska Native Science: A Curriculum Guide, by Dolly Garza. Published by the Alaska Native Knowledge Network, the 143-page book introduces teachers to using multiple knowledge systems to teach science. It is designed for grades 6–9 and addresses cultural and Alaska state science education standards.
The book focuses on Alaska Native science and ecological knowledge, and how Alaska Natives have passed knowledge through generations. Chapters cover marine mammals, herring, and traditional medicines, and introduce several Alaska Native scientists. Some guidance is provided on Elders in the classroom and interviewing Elders.
Author Dolly Garza is professor emeritus at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. During her tenure as Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory agent in Kotzebue, Sitka, and Ketchikan, she educated Alaska's marine resource users in subsistence management, marine mammal management, and family marine safety.
At the request of Gay Sheffield, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory agent in Nome, KNOM radio produced public service announcements for sick seals in five languages—English, Russian, Inupiaq (Bering Strait dialect), Siberian Yupik, and mainland Yupik. Sheffield is counting on the daily PSAs to bring in more sick seal reports, which are essential to solving the mystery of the seal illness in the region. Some seals in northern Alaska and nearby are failing to grow fur and suffering from sores. Native subsistence hunters and community members on both sides of the Bering Strait are prime sources of sightings.
Sheffield helped the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration establish the unknown illness as an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) in December 2011, and continues outreach activities. In May she interviewed 21 people who encountered sick seals or walruses in Unalakleet, Kotzebue, White Mountain, Chefornak, Savoonga, Gambell, Nome, and King Island, and she submitted reports to federal agencies and the North Slope Borough for ringed and bearded seals and walruses. Sheffield gave a presentation for the Local Environmental Observer (LEO) Network webinar on Northern Sea Mammal Illness Observation, and summarized the UME reports and provided information to the Eskimo Walrus Commission, North Slope Borough, and the Ice Seal Commission.
Pathologists continue to study tissues and have come to no conclusions about the cause of the symptoms. People are advised not to eat the sick animals.
An Alaska Sea Grant study encouraged Alaska oyster farmers to use grow-out bags that result in faster oyster growth and reduce labor costs by 80%. The study outcome—gear construction, culture procedures, and economics—was presented to farmers at the 2011 Shellfish Aquaculture Technology Workshop and the 2012 National Shellfisheries Association annual conference.
Shellfish farmers in southeast Alaska are adopting the new bag culture technology. Three farms have converted to bag culture, and twelve farms got permit modifications for bag culture, including a floating bag system and bags flipped over by the tide. Sealaska Native Corporation began a major expansion into oyster farming in 2009, converting existing farms and planning new farms to incorporate bag culture.
In 2007, a financial management review funded by Alaska Sea Grant and the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that Alaska shellfish farmers were at considerable risk of failure. Challenges include the length of time needed to grow a market size oyster, and high cost of labor. In 2009, the two-year study was initiated to test intertidal bag culture as a faster, less labor-intensive method of growing oysters.
Ray RaLonde, Marine Advisory aquaculture specialist, designed the study, directed data collection, analyzed data, and reported results to farmers. Four Alaska oyster farmers participated in the project, which compared lantern net and raft and tray culture to bags.
The material costs for the plastic mesh grow-out bags are 67% less than for other grow-out gear, and labor costs for maintenance during one year of grow-out are reduced by 80%. While labor for bag construction was six times greater than for rafts and trays, the high construction cost was offset by labor saved on maintenance. The bag system produced oysters of significantly greater size and quality. It works best in the first year of growth, after which oysters are transferred to raft and tray culture for a second and final year of grow-out to market size.
Partners in the project are U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pearl of Alaska Shellfish Farm, Annette Island Indian Reserve Department of Fish and Wildlife, Blue Starr Oyster Farm, and Tenass Pass Oyster Farm.
SFOS graduate Naim Montazeri won first place for his poster, Refined Liquid Smoke: A Potential Antilisterial Additive to Cold-Smoked Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka), at the recent Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) conference in Las Vegas, in the Aquatic Food Products Division. About 645 papers were submitted for the poster competition. Montazeri earned his master’s in food science from UAF, supervised by Alexandra Oliveira, Brian Himelbloom, Chuck Crapo, and Mary Beth Leigh, with some funding from Alaska Sea Grant.
“Through the guidance of my advisors and other faculty and staff, I gained a lot of knowledge at the UAF Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center on the science behind seafood, and picked up hands-on laboratory and research skills that are currently helping me toward my Ph.D. studies on seafood safety at Louisiana State University,” said Montazeri.