The symposia at the 2019 annual meeting will be topical and relevant to fisheries professionals in today’s world.
If you have a presentation that would be a good fit for one of these symposia, we encourage you to submit an abstract or get in touch with one of the individual moderators. If your research falls a little outside of the scope of those listed here, we’re constantly adding new sessions, and will group it with the most similar topics.
Advocacy, Normative Science, Politics, Escalating Environmental Conundrums – What is the Role of Individual Biologists, Agencies, and AFS in Natural Resource Management?
Organizer: Dave Cannon (Kuskokwim Aquatics Consulting)
Summary: Scientific information is important in the many fisheries-related policy debates in Alaska, including salmon management, habitat protection and hatcheries. As Alaskans are increasingly seeing many of the same contentious environmental issues emerge that have challenged people in the lower 48, we must contend also with the far-reaching implications of climate change and ocean acidification. Science is fundamental in such policy discussions and decisions…or so we hope. But what is the role of the objective scientist? With greater expectations to communicate with the public directly through social and traditional media, fisheries scientists have to navigate a fine line between advocacy and outreach. Or is this distinction between advocacy and outreach outdated in this time of rapid change? What will it take to prevent many of Alaska’s aquatic resources from going the same way as so many other places down south and throughout the world? Speakers will broach the question: “Is it appropriate and effective to advocate for the fishes and other resources that we know and care so much about as scientists and as a professional society.” A panel discussion will follow.
The Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950: Past, Present and Future
Organizer: Kyle James (USFWS)
Summary: The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation ensures the successful implementation of fish and wildlife management. Dedicated funding is apportioned to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for restoration and management of sport fish, public access for recreational boating, and aquatic resources education. Federal funding is provided by: 1) excise taxes on sport fishing equipment, electric motors and sonar; 2) Import duties on fishing tackle, yachts and pleasure craft; 3) A portion of gasoline tax attributable to motorboats and small engines; and 4) Interest earned on the Trust Fund. Federal funds require a 25% match, most often supplied through license fees. Additionally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service implements the State Wildlife Grant program that focuses on species not hunted or fished. The U.S. Congress authorizes annual apportionments to be used for species of greatest conservation need identified in Alaska’s State Wildlife Action Plan.
Building Local Involvement into Fisheries Assessment and Management
Organizer: William R. Bechtol (Bechtol Research)
Summary: Western Science and Local Knowledge systems are unique and dynamic, but share common ground. The need to bridge these approaches in a way that maintains the values and integrity of each system, while forming a more comprehensive and holistic approach, is needed for improved fisheries management. Fisheries managers usually focus on stock sustainability, coupled with maximizing harvests beyond that needed for sustainability. Agency managers often occupy a particular management position for a relatively short period of years before taking another management position, frequently in another office, which gives agency staff a broad understanding of different fisheries, but limits local experience. In contrast, local harvesters have extensive experience with local resources, long-term resource changes, and how management has interacted with those changes. This local understanding is often constrained from interacting and informing management and assessment programs within the bounds of Western Science, although local harvesters may inform managers in more qualitative and holistic ways. Steps to better integrate Western Science and Local Knowledge systems have included capacity building of local residents and partnerships among agencies and local organizations to foster trust and understanding. This session intends to highlight examples involvement of local residents in assessment efforts and management decisions.
Alaska Aquaculture in the 21st Century: Current Challenges and Opportunities
Organizer: Peter Westley
Summary: Mirroring global trends, aquaculture in Alaska has rapidly increased in the past decades and poised to continue expansion into the future. This symposium brings together speakers across a range of disciplinary backgrounds to share information on the current challenges and opportunities facing Alaska’s aquaculture industries. Speakers will provide insights in taxa from seaweed to salmon in a symposium intended to have broad inclusion from academic researchers, NGOs, and industry.
Population and community dynamics in a changing world
Organizer: Cheryl Barnes
Summary: Changes in biological (e.g., growth, maturation) and ecological (e.g., predation, competition) processes can have substantial and long-lasting effects on harvested species. Thus, it is essential to document how these processes vary – both in time and across space. This session is intended to showcase advancements in our understanding about life history, species-habitat associations, and community structure and function in response to spatiotemporal heterogeneity and/or changing environmental conditions. Observational and experimental studies carried out at a variety of spatial (e.g., local, regional, system-wide) and temporal (e.g., seasonal, annual, decadal) scales are welcome.
Drivers of freshwater productivity in salmon population. Data collection, data interpretation, and application to management.
Organizer: Jonathon Gerken (USFWS)
Summary: Changes in freshwater salmon habitat are more evident in the northern landscape of Alaska then other locales of the United States. In recent years, Alaska salmon fisheries have seen declines in the abundance of statewide Chinook Salmon populations, many Coho Salmon populations, and most recently Sockeye Salmon populations in notable areas of the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Island, and the Copper River. Potential reasons for population declines may range from overharvest and density dependence in marine waters to lack of suitable freshwater habitat affected by temporal and spatial changes in water temperature and watershed discharge. The problems are complex due to the combination of environmental variables, vast geography of Alaska, and numerous land managers and fish managers with different authorities and mandates.Salmon populations have specific habitat requirements influenced by water temperatures and quantities that allow them to survive. The spatial distribution of water temperatures and its change under different water quantities is of great importance to fish managers because they influence salmon population distribution and abundance, needed to provide recreational and subsistence fishing opportunity, and of value to land managers to identify priority habitats, needed to employ conservation easement or mitigation strategies.
Seasons’ Summaries: Fisheries management throughout Alaska.
Organizer: Rhea Ehresmann (ADF&G)
Summary: Managing fisheries across Alaska requires a variety of skills as well as unique data collection in order to make informed decisions, especially when data are limited or traditional monitoring projects are discontinued. Adding to this complexity, many stocks across Alaska appear to be undergoing significant changes in abundance, run timing, or distribution. The roles and skillsets of fisheries scientists, managers, and researchers are becoming increasingly dynamic to ensure conservation of fishes and sustainable harvests. This session is intended to fill the niche of informing members about fisheries management and highlighting ongoing research projects. Our goal is to provide a platform for sharing about challenges and solutions in fishery management, long-term monitoring projects or surveys, port sampling programs, etc. We hope to fill this symposium with presentations showcasing a variety of fisheries management projects and research solutions.