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Food Security Research
In 2013, the average age of Alaska fishery permit holders was 49.7 years, up ten years since 1980. As many Alaska fishery permit holders approach retirement age, next generation fishing will greatly impact coastal communities. UA is approaching the problem of the “graying of the fleet,” and developing alternatives to address this growing problem.
Human access routes to coastal Arctic subsistence resources are changing and disappearing as temperatures warm. Our Fisheries Center is studying subsistence users’ access to marine resources in the coastal Western Arctic National Parklands. The work helps the Parks Service in managing subsistence use during times of rapid change.
Southeast Alaska has some of the world’s highest rates of glacial volume loss. This collaboration between UA and the US Geological Survey has improved our understanding of the roles glaciers play in Gulf of Alaska coastal systems, and their impacts on the tourism and salmon fishery industries — each of which provide $1 billion in annual economic activity to Alaska.
Based on analysis by oceanographers, fisheries biologists and modelers, a multi-year study of young groundfishes (walleye pollock, Pacific cod, Pacific ocean perch, sablefish, and arrowtooth flounder) is now helping enhance Gulf fisheries stock assessments by including broader and more complex ecosystem information.
UA is developing and deploying new tools for monitoring coastal marine ecosystems to ensure that healthy resources remain widely available to Alaskans.
In partnership with the Nome Eskimo Community, UAF researchers are working with the Native Villages of Solomon and Council and the King Island Native Community to identify and discuss recent changes in conditions and ways to adapt, develop detailed plans and share information with other rural Alaska and Native communities.
Pacific halibut supports valuable commercial, sport and subsistence fisheries throughout the Gulf of Alaska. Declining halibut stocks over the past 20 years has led to increased restrictions for commercial and sport fisheries. Are halibut competing for shared resources with a burgeoning population of arrowtooth flounder? UAF is examining resource partitioning between arrowtooth flounder and Pacific halibut to better understand their potential competition for shared prey, including walleye pollock.
UA scientists are examining how important fisheries resources respond to changes in ocean chemistry such as ocean acidification. Given the importance of these resources to local and statewide economies, such knowledge of risks from both socioeconomic and biochemical perspectives is essential.
UA scientists are examining how important fisheries resources respond to changes in ocean chemistry, including ocean acidification. Given the importance of these resources to local and statewide economies, such knowledge of risks from both socioeconomic and biochemical perspectives is essential.
UA researchers are using genetic markers to better identify types of western Alaska chum salmon (Norton Sound, Lower Yukon, Kuskokwim, Bristol Bay) and studying competition between these fish and stocks native to Russia and Japan. UAF research helps determine risks by linking exposure to natural hazards and the vulnerability of communities.
Local and traditional knowledge is being combined with scientific data to provide information for managing Alaska’s nearshore fisheries. Through interviews with resource users, UA is documenting knowledge from fishers in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska to assess long-term trends in abundance and body size for groundfish, salmon and crab species.
Nearshore ecosystems are often overlooked in acidification studies, even though these habitats are crucial in planning for mariculture operation, fisheries monitoring, harmful algal blooms and paralytic shellfish poisoning. In this most extensive ferry-based ocean chemistry monitoring project in North America, UA is providing unparalleled, broad, and long-term coverage of nearshore marine habitats from Bellingham, WA to Skagway, AK.
UA is developing a statistical understanding of how storms and other extreme events (wildfire, coastal erosion, flooding) are projected to change for Alaska in our current century. This is enabling us to better understand the connections between exposure to natural hazards and human vulnerability.
Recreational fishing contributes approximately $1.4 billion per year to coastal communities in Alaska. UA is studying patterns of responses to regulatory, environmental, and socioeconomic changes in Alaska halibut and salmon fisheries over the last three decades. This will help managers and stakeholders to better understand how future changes will affect the welfare of fishing communities in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska.