Vol. 33, No. 1
Alaska Sea Grant invites pre-proposals for research projects in the natural and social sciences that focus on the environmental and economic viability of Alaska's coastal communities. Proposals are sought that address (1) impacts on and strategies for coastal ecosystems and/or coastal communities adapting to change; or (2) improvements to the economic and socio-cultural sustainability of Alaska coastal communities. The deadline for pre-proposals for 2014–2016 is February 8, 2013. Please see the Announcement of Research Funding Opportunity.
Alaska Sea Grant published the book, Fishing People of the North: Cultures, Economies, and Management Responding to Change, edited by C. Carothers, K.R. Criddle, C.P. Chambers, P.J. Cullenberg, J.A. Fall, A.H. Himes-Cornell, J.P. Johnsen, N.S. Kimball, C.R. Menzies, and E.S. Springer, 312 pp. Nineteen peer-reviewed articles present ways to address change and ensure that fishing remains a healthy, vibrant part of northern coastal communities. The book is the proceedings of the 27th Wakefield fisheries symposium held in 2011.
Authors present research in anthropology, biology, and economics on fishing communities in Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Russia, Japan, and Norway. Papers focus on cultural responses to climate change effects, and transitions in fishing communities regarding permits, quotas, and target species. Articles also cover using local knowledge to preserve a fishery and to map subsistence patterns, and tribal involvement in fisheries management.
Alaska Sea Grant also published Strengthening Partnerships: NOAA, BOEM, BSEE in the Arctic, Workshop Report, 40 pp. It describes action items that will improve coordination within the federal government and with the State of Alaska and tribal, regional, and local governments, to minimize environment risks in the face of increased development and transportation in the Arctic.
The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) recognized Marine Advisory agent Torie Baker with a Blue Ribbon Award, for training 261 people in boating safety in 2012. Baker was among the top trainers for the year. “Some of our active trainers really stand out and deserve recognition and kudos.… Thank you for making a difference and for saving lives!” (Marine Safety Update 28). Baker trained 250 people during the Cordova Health Fair, and 11 during a Boating Without the Boys workshop.
In partnership with AMSEA, MAP provides safety services such as training courses and information dissemination. MAP agents Torie Baker, Julie Matweyou, Reid Brewer, and Gay Sheffield taught U.S. Coast Guard–approved AMSEA safety courses to an additional 100 commercial fishermen and the public in 2012.
The number of commercial fishing fatalities in Alaska has dropped by more than 50% since the mid 1990s, but the number of nonfatal incidents such as man overboard and vessel losses due to flooding and fire continues to increase. Marine safety training is still one of the top risk reduction strategies, and MAP is actively engaged in hands-on safety training throughout Alaska.
The 6th Western Alaska Interdisciplinary Science Conference and Forum, Rural Science in Action, will be held March 20–22, 2013, in Nome. The deadline for submitting abstracts for oral and poster presentations is February 15.
Since 2008 WAISC has brought together scientists, rural Alaska leaders and community members, educators, and students to discuss science, research, and issues relevant to western Alaska. The 2013 conference will highlight regional scientific efforts and community-based projects, including work based in traditional knowledge and local expertise. Organizers welcome submissions drawn from all disciplines that use a scientific approach to address questions and issues of concern to western Alaska communities. Some of the session topics are fisheries, mining, energy, watershed protection, waste management, reindeer herding, and human health.
The conference is hosted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Northwest Campus. For more information please visit the WAISC website.
Nome Marine Advisory agent Gay Sheffield played a pivotal communication and liaison role in November during a mysterious wildlife oiling event on St. Lawrence Island. When contacted by hunters about oiled birds and seals, Sheffield assisted by notifying agencies and community residents, providing logistical information and reports to responding agencies, initiating a regional multilingual information alert poster, shipping oiled tissue samples for testing, and establishing international communications on oiled wildlife with several Russian organizations including ChAZTO (Association of Traditional Marine Mammal Hunters of Chukotka), Chukotka TINRO, and the Provideniya Museum.
At this time the source of the oil has not been determined and no additional sightings have been reported. U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Laboratory results revealed that a thick-billed murre from Gambell, and a common murre from Savoonga had degraded heavy oil on them. However, none of the wildlife samples are a match with any suspected sources sampled, according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. With sea ice now in the region, investigators will have to wait until spring to look further.