Lowell Wakefield fisheries symposium to focus on ecosystem
Date: September 15, 1998
FAIRBANKS, Alaska--For two straight years, returns of sockeye salmon to Bristol Bay and the Yukon-Kuskokwim River region have been far below official predictions.
The declines have come as a shock to fishermen and policy makers, but not to some scientists. For several years, researchers have warned of an impending decline in the abundance of salmon. Their studies of year-to-year and long-term changes in the North Pacific ecosystem suggest salmon declines are the result of ocean cycles, El Nino and global warming.
"It was bound to happen," says Milo Adkison, an assistant professor of fisheries at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences. "You get large year-to-year variations and you also get shifts in salmon productivity that can run for a couple of decades. Salmon productivity itself is connected to conditions in the ocean that operate on similar time scales."
Managing fish stocks amid such changing environmental conditions is the latest challenge facing fisheries biologists. This and other marine resource issues will be the subject of a major international symposium in Anchorage September 30 through October 3. Called Ecosystem Considerations in Fisheries Management, the meeting is the latest in the Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposia series, sponsored by the University of Alaska Sea Grant Program.
Adkison is one of dozens of scientists from the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia, and elsewhere who will present research findings at the meeting. Topics include physical and environmental effects, species interactions, concepts and tools for management, human interactions and whole ecosystem approaches in fisheries management, among others. The symposium also will explore ways to advance fishery management beyond the single-species model now used by most state and federal fisheries managers.
The ecosystem symposium will be held jointly with the 1998 annual meetings of the American Fisheries Society's Western Division, the Alaska Chapter, and the North Pacific International Chapter.
An opening plenary session for participants of both meetings is scheduled for the morning of September 30. Speakers at this session include:
Cindy Hartmann, president-elect
Bob Bilby, president-elect
Welcome and Introduction
Sea Grant/AFS interactions
Alaska Lt. Governor Fran Ulmer
Terry D. Garcia, Assistant Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere
Dr. Stuart Pimm, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Dr. Richard Beamish, Pacific Biological Station
Larry Merculief, Environmental Programs Director
William Seitz, Director
Topics covered in the AFS sessions include:
o Mass marking of hatchery stocksMuch more information about the symposium, including the program and registration information, is available online at www.uaf.edu/seagrant--click on "Meetings."
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. It is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in partnership with the state of Alaska and private industry.
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