Alaska Sea Grant

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Sea Lions of the World: Conservation and Research in the 21st Century

22nd Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium

Anchorage, Alaska, USA
September 30–October 3, 2004

Contact: Sherri Pristash,

Symposium Information

Register online for this symposium

* Background
* Program
* Optional Seward Field Trip
* Agenda
* Proceedings
* Location and Facilities

* Registration
* Sightseeing
* Organizing Committee
* Sponsors
* About Wakefield Series & Endowment

Symposium Background

Over the past few decades, major changes have been noted in the abundance of the five species of sea lions around the world. In the North Pacific, the Steller sea lion has been declared an endangered species in parts of its range and is considered threatened with extinction in others. This is in contrast to the rapid increase of California sea lions in Mexico and California. Elsewhere, the Japanese subspecies of California sea lions is probably extinct and the Galapagos subspecies is in low numbers. Numbers of New Zealand sea lions and Australian sea lions are also extremely low, with major declines recently reported in Australia. Little is known about the fifth species of sea lions, the South America sea lion.

Changes in the abundance of sea lions is of growing concern to fisheries and conservation groups, either because fisheries are feared to threaten sea lions, or because sea lions are feared to threaten fisheries. The issues are common to all five species. This symposium will bring the world community of sea lion researchers together to share their experiences and knowledge with each other. Interspecies comparisons can shed light on why some populations might decline while others increase. Insights can also be gained on whether trends in the abundance of sea lions are related to fishing activities through food dependencies or more directly through control or conservation measures. A better understanding of the biology of sea lions is urgently needed. This symposium will significantly contribute to the understanding of fluctuating sea lion populations, especially as they compare to the Steller sea lion, by synthesizing current knowledge and forging new directions.


The registration desk will be open at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, September 30. The program will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 30, and will conclude the afternoon of Sunday, October 3. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday will begin with plenary talks (presenters are Kathy Ono, Tom Loughlin, and Nick Gales). There will be a catered reception and poster session after presentations on Thursday, and a social and poster session after presentations on Friday and possibly Saturday. A light continental breakfast will be available in the meeting room each morning; other meals will be on your own.

Presentations will cover the following topics:

  • Life history—life cycles, behavior, seasonal movements
  • Physiological ecology—morphometrics (developmental molt, dentition, parasites, diseases, etc.)
  • Foraging ecology—diet (predator-prey dynamics), energetics
  • Population ecology—distribution, numbers, exploitation
  • Population dynamics—life tables, density dependence, longevity
  • Conservation and management—current concerns, future needs and directions

On Sunday afternoon, the last day of the symposium, we will break into roundtable groups to consider similarities and differences between the five species of sea lions. Discussion topics will include foraging ecology, life history strategies, fisheries influences, population dynamics, and others.

Optional Field Trip to Seward

We are offering an optional field trip to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska, on Monday, October 4. An additional fee will be required for those participating in the field trip. Plan for a long day (7:45 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.).

Alaska SeaLife CenterEnjoy the scenic ride to Seward aboard a chartered luxury motorcoach. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Alaska SeaLife Center, Alaska's own aquarium. Public exhibits showcase sea birds, Steller sea lions and other marine fauna, as well as a special exhibit on the Bering Sea. The SeaLife Center is a marine research aquarium which also specializes in the rehabilitation of marine mammals. Spend some time shopping and visiting the waterfront, then on the way back to Anchorage, we'll stop for dinner at Alyeska Resort.

Cost is $60 (includes lunch; dinner is on your own), and participation is limited. Contact Sherri Pristash at for more information.


The agenda is on the Web and will be updated as needed.

The program includes presentations by researchers from Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Russia, Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

The official language of the symposium is English. Participants needing interpretation or translation services should provide their own, and notify the symposium coordinator.


Alaska Sea Grant will publish a peer-reviewed proceedings, including full papers based on oral and poster presentations, soon after the symposium.

Proceedings of nineteen Wakefield symposia have been published. Information on availability and ordering is on our Web site.

Location and Facilities

The symposium will be held in Anchorage, Alaska's largest city. In early October, average temperatures range from 34°F to 45°F and days are 11 hours 30 minutes long. Be prepared for cool, wet weather, although it could be sunny and mild.

All sessions will be held at the Anchorage Marriott Downtown Hotel. The newest large hotel in downtown Anchorage, the Marriott offers a variety of guest amenities, including a café, fine dining, business center, health club, swimming pool, and whirlpool. Many rooms have great views.

Guest room accommodations are available for symposium participants at a special rate of $85.00 per person, per night, standard room. Add 8% tax to all room prices. Be sure to make your reservations by September 1, 2004, and mention the 22nd Wakefield Symposium for group rate. Make reservations directly with the Marriott:

Anchorage Marriott Downtown Hotel
820 West 7th Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99501 USA
1-800-228-9290 (toll free from North America)
907-279-8000 (voice)
907-792-2125 (fax)


The registration fee is $250.00 US if paid on or before September 1; it will be $275.00 if paid after September 1, 2004. The fee covers light continental breakfast and break refreshments daily; a catered reception on Thursday, September 30; socials on Friday, October 1, and possibly Saturday, October 2; symposium materials; and the published proceedings book postage paid. You are urged to register and pay your fees in advance so that adequate materials are available.

Make checks payable to Alaska Sea Grant College Program (money order or US funds check from US bank). Visa and MasterCard are also accepted. If it becomes necessary to cancel your registration, fees will be refunded at 75% if notice is received by September 15, 2004.

You can register online for the symposium using our secure form, or if you prefer, fill out and return our printable registration form to the symposium coordinator.

For further information contact:

Sherri Pristash
Symposium Coordinator
Alaska Sea Grant College Program
PO Box 755040
Fairbanks, AK 99775-5040
907-474-6701 (voice) • 907-474-6285 (fax)


Anchorage offers museums, performing arts, fine dining, bookstores, and sightseeing opportunities. For more information on these and other possibilities, check out these Web sites:

Organizing Committee

  • Shannon Atkinson
    Alaska SeaLife Center
  • Michael Castellini
    Institute of Marine Science, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Doug DeMaster
    Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries
  • Lowell Fritz
    Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries
  • Tom Gelatt
    Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries
  • Sherri Pristash
    Alaska Sea Grant College Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Andrew Trites
    University of British Columbia
  • Bill Wilson
    North Pacific Fishery Management Council
  • Kate Wynne
    Marine Advisory Program, University of Alaska Fairbanks


About the Lowell Wakefield Symposium Series and Endowment

The Alaska Sea Grant College Program has been sponsoring and coordinating the Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium series since 1982. These meetings are a forum for information exchange in biology, management, economics, and processing of various fish species and complexes, as well as an opportunity for scientists from high-latitude countries to meet informally and discuss their work.

Lowell Wakefield was the founder of the Alaska king crab industry. He recognized two major ingredients necessary for the king crab fishery to survive—ensuring that a quality product be made available to the consumer, and that a viable fishery can be maintained only through sound management practices based on the best scientific data available. Lowell Wakefield and Wakefield Seafoods played important roles in the development and implementation of quality control legislation, in the preparation of fishing regulations for Alaska waters, and in drafting international agreements for the high seas. Toward the end of his life, Lowell Wakefield joined the faculty of the University of Alaska as an adjunct professor of fisheries, where he influenced the early directions of the university's Sea Grant Program. The symposium series is named in honor of Lowell Wakefield and his many contributions to Alaska's fisheries.

In 2000, Frankie Wakefield, Lowell's wife, made a gift to the University of Alaska Foundation to establish an endowment to continue this series. Additional donations to this endowment are encouraged in order to extend the support to the symposia. Donations may be made along with symposium registration (see the registration form), or contact

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