Vol. 37, No. 2, February 2017

Alaska Marine Science Symposium Student Awards

Director with student holding award

Paula Cullenberg and Jenell Larsen. Photo by Brendan Smith/North Pacific Research Board.

Alaska Sea Grant sponsored two of the nine student awards presented at the Alaska Marine Science Symposium in Anchorage last month. Sarah Traiger, UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, won first place in the PhD category for her talk, “Supply and survival: Kelp microscopic life stage challenges across a glacial gradient.” Her research is funded by Alaska Sea Grant. Jenell Larsen, also a CFOS student, was awarded first place in the master’s category for her presentation, “Old ovaries, new tricks: What walrus ovaries can tell us about population fluctuations.”

Marilyn Sigman, Alaska Sea Grant marine education specialist, organized the judging of 76 student presentations at AMSS involving 38 judges, most of whom were also presenters at the weeklong symposium. Sigman organized several events for teachers and other educators as well.

Organized by the North Pacific Research Board, AMSS convenes every January in Anchorage. This year’s symposium drew over 700 people.

Alaska Sea Grant Salmon Research Featured on National Website

Text and pictures from a web story map

To mark its 50-year anniversary celebration, National Sea Grant featured several nationwide projects in a Research-to-Application highlight, among them Tony Gharrett’s 30-year research on Alaska pink salmon. The national program created a video animation on Gharrett’s studies for its website.

From 1977 to 2016, University of Alaska Fairbanks professor Tony Gharrett and his colleagues led 14 projects on pink salmon breeding and population genetics, funded by Alaska Sea Grant. The research results have guided fish hatchery policy and science-based fishery management in Alaska, trained 23 students in fishery management, supported the seafood industry, and demonstrated how fish can adapt to a changing climate.

In addition, Alaska Sea Grant published Gharrett’s What Does Genetics Have to Do with It?, a layperson’s guide to the role of genetics in conservation and fishery management. It is required reading for “Introduction to Aquaculture” and other courses at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The National Sea Grant College Program funds research, extension, and education at 33 state programs in coastal and Great Lakes states. It was established by Congress in 1966.

Cordovans Play and Learn Safety at Iceworm Festival

people in survival suits jumping into the water

© Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson/The Cordova Times

About 40 enthusiastic participants took the plunge in Cordova’s harbor earlier this month during the annual Iceworm Festival survival suit races.

Torie Baker, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory agent, helped organize the event along with local volunteers and fishermen. The competition features 4-person teams running down a dock, quickly getting into survival suits, jumping into the harbor, and swimming to a moored life raft. Donated prizes are handed out in various categories. The races took place on February 4.

“It was a beautiful day, so there was great energy in town,” said Baker. “Residents get practice donning their survival suits and having some fun. Local harbor staff and EMTs are also on hand, to help keep an eye on participants.”

The Marine Advisory Program started the survival suit races over two decades ago to highlight the importance of being familiar with safety gear while on the water.

“Marine safety is a big part of our training mission at Alaska Sea Grant,” Baker said.

Cordova’s Iceworm Festival began in 1961. Many of Cordova’s 2,000 or so residents, along with a healthy dose of visitors, participate in the many events including a theme parade, the Miss Iceworm coronation, blessing of the fleet, an arts and crafts show, and an ice cream feed.

Read a story about the Iceworm Festival by The Cordova Times writer and photographer Cinthia Gibbens-Stimson.

New Publications

Detail from book cover

The Alaska Sea Grant online bookstore is offering two new publications at no cost.

Alaska Water Law: An Overview, by Izetta Chambers, offers a concise history and status of the legalities of water rights and use in Alaska. Alaska residents, NGOs, tribes, city officials, developers, and lawyers will find this online-only publication useful. Issues about who has rights to Alaska waters involve public lands, subsistence, commercial fishing, mining, and the Clean Water Act. Chambers, a former Marine Advisory agent, earned her law degree at the University of Arizona. The 18 page booklet is published by Alaska Sea Grant.

The Alaska Arctic Marine Fish Ecology Catalog, edited by Lyman K. Thorsteinson and Milton S. Love, is a 770 page paperback and online book with new information on marine fishes in the US Arctic, an area with decreasing ice and increasing accessibility to exploration. The book cites recent discoveries on the biology and ecology of fishes in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. It is published by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Environmental Studies Program.

Training for the Alaska Seafood Workforce

woman processing a salmon fillet

To carry out its mission to support the state’s seafood processing industry, Alaska Sea Grant will offer educational and training opportunities throughout 2017. The courses are on skills to avoid foodborne illness, roe processing, smoked seafood, and processing company leadership.

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) will be taught March 23–24 in Anchorage. Seafood processing employees will learn how to control biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw fish or processed seafood products.

Processors can sign up for April 27–28 training in roe processing techniques and markets, at the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center. Topics include sujiko and ikura processing, packaging, roe grading, and various seafood roe forms.

Home fish smokers and businesses are invited to join the popular Smoked Seafood School October 12–13 in Kodiak, to learn principles of fish smoking, safety of smoked products, brining, cold and hot-smoking, and fish sausage.

And seafood processing companies can enroll their middle managers in the Alaska Seafood Processing Leadership Institute, which begins November 9–13 in Kodiak and will continue into early 2018. This professional development program is designed for processing employees who want to advance their careers.

These classes are sponsored by a partnership between Alaska Sea Grant, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership funded through the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Apply to Become an Alaska Salmon Fellow

Woman with drying salmon in background

The Alaska Humanities Forum is seeking applications for Alaska Salmon Fellows, who will form an active group of influential leaders to address current and emerging challenges associated with salmon in Alaska. Fellows will commit to attend gatherings and collaborate over an 18-month period and will receive an award of $10,000 each. For more information please visit the Alaska Humanities Forum website. The deadline for application is February 28, 2017.