Alaska Sea Grant in the News

Fisheries scientists to discuss new tools, strategies at 17th Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium

Date: October 21,1999
Contact: Doug Schneider, Public Information Officer, 907-474-7449,

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Counting fish has often been characterized as part guess, part science. To fishermen, it often seemed that it was mostly guess.

That's because until recently, scientists calculated fish stocks by counting the number of fish in a small area and then averaging that number over a larger area.

These survey techniques didn't consider factors such as the variety of different habitats where fish might or might not be, the mixture of other species, or whether fish stocks used the same habitat throughout the year. It was, essentially, an educated guess.

Today, these methods are fast disappearing, replaced by new techniques that seek more accurate information about how fish use habitats and interact with each other and other species.

Understanding the so-called "spatial processes" of fisheries is an emerging field in fisheries science, and the subject of an international gathering of scientists at the 17th Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium October 27-30 at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage, Alaska.

The four-day conference is sponsored and coordinated by the Alaska Sea Grant College Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Dozens of scientists from Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America will present their latest research on fish population analysis techniques, modeling, species life history, spatial distribution of fish populations, habitat and ecosystem considerations, species interactions, and marine protected habitats.

In all, 60 fisheries biology, ecosystem and economic studies are scheduled to be presented at the conference. An additional 28 studies will be presented through informative poster sessions.

More information about the 17th Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium is available online at:

The Alaska Sea Grant College Program is a marine research, education and outreach service headquartered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. Sea Grant is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in partnership with the State of Alaska and private industry.

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