UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS

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Volunteers trained to respond to whale entanglements

When whales get entangled in fishing gear or other marine debris, it’s a potentially life-threatening event that takes a group of trained specialists to provide help. And with whale entanglements on the rise worldwide, it’s becoming an ever-more pressing need. Last month, Alaska Sea Grant teamed up with Ed Lyman of the National Oceanic and…

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Sheffield, Ahmasuk honored for seabird mortality response

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has honored Alaska Sea Grant’s Gay Sheffield and Brandon Ahmasuk of Kawerak, Inc. for leading a coordinated response to seabird mortality events across the Bering and Chukchi region. Since 2013, Sheffield, an associate professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and Ahmasuk have…

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Juneau oyster farmer battles red tape to grow family business

Woman in waders and boots standing on dock

Meta Mesdag is a commercial photographer and mom to three young children. More recently, the Southeast Alaska resident added oyster farmer to her resume. Mesdag is the owner of Salty Lady Seafood Company, a small-scale mariculture operation in Bridget Cove, north of Juneau. She launched the company in April 2018 with the goal of having…

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Scientists study fate of salmon in a changing Alaska landscape

A man and woman wading in a stream

From coastal shores to inland mountains, salmon are part of the fabric of Alaska. Salmon have been harvested by Alaska Natives for thousands of years and remain a critical part of the state’s commercial, recreational and subsistence fisheries. As anadromous fish, salmon spend the first months to years of their lives in freshwater before migrating…

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Unraveling the mysteries of spot shrimp

underside of a shrimp with small shrimp eggs visible

Northern spot shrimp are an important species in Alaska, for commercial, sport and personal use. But in Alaska’s southeast panhandle, their numbers are declining for reasons that are not at all clear. In the Juneau area, the spot shrimp fishery has been closed to sport and personal use since 2013 due to low abundance. Could…

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Juneau company makes waves with kelp

Wild salmon, king crab and halibut are hallmarks of Alaska cuisine. But another ocean product is increasingly making it way onto store shelves and dinner plates. It’s a sea vegetable called bull kelp—a salty, crisp plant packed with vitamins and nutrients such as calcium, iodine and iron. A small but growing company in Alaska’s state…

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Water samples detect low levels of Fukushima-related contamination

A slightly elevated level of radioactive contamination connected to the Fukushima nuclear disaster has been detected in the northern Bering Sea. The level of cesium-137, a radioactive isotope, is extremely low and not considered a health concern, according to state epidemiologists. The sampling, conducted by residents of Saint Lawrence Island, documents the Fukushima plume’s northern…

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Kodiak agent works with tribes to keep residents safe from PSP

Woman talking to group

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is a significant concern in Alaska, where many residents harvest clams, mussels and other bivalves for food and recreation. PSP is of particular concern in the Kodiak region, where it is prevalent. Since 2012, Julie Matweyou, a Marine Advisory agent with Alaska Sea Grant, has been working with the communities of…

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