Vol. 33, No. 11
The fourth Alaska Seafood Processing Leadership Institute (ASPLI) began in late October with a week of instruction in Kodiak. Fifteen seafood managers, from ten seafood processing companies and eight Alaska communities, participated in the classes. Organized by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, the institute recruits mid-career seafood processor employees who are identified by their companies as having a good chance of moving up the ladder.
“This group of 15 people includes assistant production managers, assistant plant managers, human resource managers, and a foreman,” said Paula Cullenberg, Alaska Sea Grant director. “They are professionals committed to the seafood industry. The Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program is targeting rising seafood leaders because the industry is such a strong part of our economy in the state.”
Laura Delgado is the quality assurance manager for APICDA Joint Ventures in Anchorage. In an interview with KMXT radio in Kodiak, she said that ASPLI was extremely helpful. “For me this session has been really amazing. We’ve had other people from our company participate in this program and I’ve really looked forward to it. It’s been a great introduction to a broad-base of seafood overall. … We’ve canned salmon, we’ve smoked it, hot smoke, cold smoke, we’ve freeze-dried it. … We toured a fish plant and have gone everywhere from the microbiology to the safety of working in the plant the week that we’ve been here.”
Quentin Fong, Alex Oliveira, and Brian Himelbloom, Marine Advisory Program faculty at the UAF Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, and Kodiak processor Chris Sannito, arranged the event and taught the classes in Kodiak.
The institute continues through March 2014. Participants will complete a project with a mentor in their plant over the next few months, attend classes on business and leadership for a week in Anchorage, and then travel to the Boston Seafood Show for big picture marketing exposure.
ASPLI is supported in part by student tuition and by the Alaska Technical Vocational Education Program through the University of Alaska Workforce Programs.
Alaska Sea Grant published two articles in the peer reviewed Wakefield symposium proceedings, Responses of Arctic Marine Ecosystems to Climate Change, edited by Franz J. Mueter, Danielle M.S. Dickson, Henry P. Huntington, James R. Irvine, Elizabeth A. Logerwell, Stephen A. MacLean, Lori T. Quakenbush, and Cheryl Rosa. This new proceedings volume focuses on understanding living marine resources in a changing Arctic, and managing human responses to changing arctic marine ecosystems. New chapters are released as they are completed.
Alaska fisheries and/or expanding marine mammal populations are the focus of six out of eight new research projects that Alaska Sea Grant plans to fund for 2014–2016. Alaska fisheries issues will be addressed by scientists as they study the graying of the fishing fleet, skate fisheries feasibility, and the effect of climate change on sockeye salmon. Rounding out the research package are projects on habitat degradation from melting glaciers, and cold temperature influence on Bering Sea ecosystems.
Based on projected funding, Alaska Sea Grant plans to fund all eight projects beginning February 1, 2014. Funding is dependent on how Congress addresses the federal budget. The funding is from the National Sea Grant College Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“The eight research projects we have chosen to fund this next cycle address issues important to coastal communities in Alaska and have partnerships, graduate students, and fairly small budgets,” said Ginny Eckert, Alaska Sea Grant associate director for research.
Jan Straley, of the Sitka Sound Science Center, will work on a mammal-fishery interaction issue based on post-whaling increase in humpback whales—“Recovering Humpback Whales and the Future of Alaska’s Hatcheries, Fisheries and Coastal Communities.” Straley and fisheries PhD student Ellen Chenoweth plan to use sonar to map the salmon as they are released, and will tag humpback whales to log their underwater behavior.
“Industry-Based Documentation of the Effectiveness of ‘F3 Whale Pingers’ at Reducing Humpback Whale Interactions with Alaska Salmon Fisheries” will continue research carried out by Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory faculty Kate Wynne, Sunny Rice, and Bree Witteveen.
Ginny Eckert is co-principal scientist on the project, “Sustainability of Coastal Communities and Sea Otters: Harvest and Future Management of Sea Otters,” along with Steve Langdon, UAA Department of Anthropology; and Verena Gill, US Fish and Wildlife Service. A master’s student will also work on the project.
Salmon are the focus of a climate effects study, “Long-Term Records of Abundance and Effects of Large Scale Climate Change on Alaska Peninsula Sockeye Salmon.” Investigators are Nicole Misarti of the UAF Water and Environmental Research Center, and Bruce Finney and Mark Shapley at Idaho State University.
Brenda Konar, of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and Sarah Traiger, marine biology PhD student, plan to carry out the research project, “Habitat Degradation Due to Melting Glaciers.” Freshwater from melting glaciers can lower the biodiversity and abundance of kelp beds, which are critical habitats for fish and invertebrates.
Mike Litzow, of the Farallon Institute in California, will investigate the ecological impact of a string of cold winters in Alaska since the mid 2000s via his study, “Applying Regime Shift Indicators to Understand the Potential Impacts of a Multi-Year Cold Event on the Bering Sea Ecosystem.”
Andrew Seitz and Keith Criddle, of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, will assess the possibility of an Alaska skate fishery. Their project, “Economic Viability of a Directed Skate Fishery in the Gulf of Alaska,” includes a skate movement and habitat use study to be conducted by PhD fisheries student Thomas Farrugia.
The study “Graying of the Fleet in Alaska’s Fisheries: Defining the Problem and Assessing Alternatives” will be carried out by Courtney Carothers, UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences; Rachel Donkersloot, Alaska Marine Conservation Council; and Paula Cullenberg, Alaska Sea Grant. The project provides a research opportunity for a fisheries master’s student.