Wednesday March 1, 2023

Alaska Native News

Managers, biologists and oceanographers need information to understand the marine habitat and distribution of salmon and other fish. Meanwhile, Southeast Alaska’s approximately 1,500 salmon trollers are on the water throughout the year. These fishing vessels can offer researchers an alternative to using expensive and limited chartered research vessels to gather year-round ocean data. 

New partnerships, led by the Alaska Trollers Association (ATA) and facilitated by Alaska Sea Grant, are working to make that happen with two projects. The first project is funded by Alaska Sea Grant and the Alaska Ocean Observing System and directed by UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences oceanographer Tyler Hennon. The scientists are providing fishermen with instruments to measure the temperature and salinity of the water. The instruments are called CTDs because they measure conductivity, temperature, and depth throughout the water column. Fishermen collect samples year-round at set stations near the fishing grounds and along frequently used transit routes to provide a robust time series of environmental conditions.

The second is a pilot project, with funding provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, to resurrect and update a logbook program that was active from 1976–1991. Fishermen will collect a wide range of physical and biological information on the marine ecosystem. The logbooks are electronic and can provide managers and researchers real time access to data. 

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