On Monday in Anchorage at the first day of the Alaska Marine Science Symposium, where hundreds of scientists gathered to talk ocean science, it was appropriate that the day start with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., given the holiday.
“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
Fitting for a symposium dedicated to sharing ocean research in the Bering Sea, Arctic Ocean and Gulf of Alaska. Keynotes from the day focused on several major issues all Alaska oceans are struggling with — acidification, tsunami debris and the highest-profile of all: Chinook salmon stocks in decline.
Alaskans have taken particular notice of chinook salmon runs lately because returning numbers of those fish have been dropping steadily in recent years. But 2012 hit the state especially hard — with multiple rivers and regions across the state seeing some of the lowest returns ever, forcing Alaska Fish and Game officials to close or severely limit salmon fishing around the state, including on some of the state’s most iconic rivers.
In Western Alaska, Native subsistence fishermen protested the closures, saying they threatened their livelihoods. They were ticketed, and since have begun fighting the citations on grounds of Yup’ik religious and cultural freedom. In Southcentral Alaska, commercial fishermen and sport fishermen dueled over who shared the burden of conservation — leaving both groups beached for most of the summer.
Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch>>