UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS

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Lack of sea ice sends seal pups and walrus calves to beach

It’s been a busy couple of months for members of the Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network, including Alaska Sea Grant’s Gay Sheffield, as they respond to multiple reports of dead ice seals along the coast of the Bering and Chukchi Seas. NOAA Fisheries reported in mid-June that at least 60 seals have recently washed up…

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Southeast Alaska tribal council develops climate change plan

A group picture of 34 people in front of a building

Climate change in Alaska’s high Arctic often captures headlines. Images of vanishing sea ice, dead seabirds, beached marine mammals, melting permafrost and houses tumbling into the ocean are common. Less media attention is directed to Southeast Alaska, an archipelago of hundreds of islands around a thin strip of mainland, blanketed by coastal temperate rainforest. But…

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Alaska fellowship program welcomes three new graduate students

Alaska Sea Grant has selected three graduate students for its year-long fellowship program. Meredith Pochardt will spend her fellowship working with NOAA Fisheries Alaska Region in Juneau. Pochardt recently graduated with a master of fisheries science degree from Oregon State University. She will be in the Habitat Conservation division assisting researchers with their habitat conservation…

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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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