The following symposia have been proposed for our 2024 annual meeting:

“Western Alaska Salmon” (chairs: Rebecca Shaftel, Boyd Blihovde, Trey Simmons, & Kate Wedemeyer)

In the Norton Sound – Yukon – Kuskokwim regions of Alaska, unprecedented declines in Chinook and chum salmon have severely impacted communities that depend on these resources. There are several ongoing efforts to address the salmon crisis in western Alaska that include common themes such as collaborative efforts across the entire life cycle and inclusion of indigenous knowledge holders. The Gravel to Gravel Keystone Initiative is a Department of Interior effort focused on ecosystem restoration and resilience as it relates to Pacific salmon health, food security, and cultural survival in the face of climate change and other threats. The goal of this symposium is to bring together AFS attendees interested in sharing their work to identify drivers of the declines such as bycatch, disease, habitat degradation, climate change, genetics, hatcheries, and adult mortality; and those that are proposing actions that can benefit Western Alaska salmon populations. Specific challenges that we invite speakers to address include stakeholder perspectives on managing for subsistence and the status of impacted or degraded habitats and restoration projects or priorities.

“Fisheries Genomics: Forging Fisheries Solutions using the Building Block of Life” (chairs: Jessica Glass & Laura Timm)

Molecular data – the building blocks of life – are some of the most direct observations we can make about an organism. Techniques that utilize DNA, RNA, eDNA, etc. are advancing rapidly and provide creative solutions to fisheries management and conservation challenges. The aim of this symposium is to showcase the interdisciplinary applications of genomic tools in Alaska for fisheries research such as whole genome sequencing, transcriptomics, environmental DNA, population genomics and phylogeography. We invite speakers whose research showcases the integration of genomic tools across Alaska and Alaskan waters, whether freshwater or marine, Arctic or temperate rainforest. We encourage talks offering creative ideas that will push the boundaries of the field of genomics as applied to fisheries, especially those that leverage genomics with community-led research priorities.

“Celebrating success and looking towards the future: The next decade of stream and lake temperature research and management in Alaska” (chairs: Erin Larson, Marcus Geist, Sue Mauger, & Rebecca Shaftel)

Lake and stream temperatures affect freshwater fish populations throughout Alaska, with wide-ranging consequences for fisheries across the state. Since the publication of the statewide Stream Temperature Action Plan in 2012, much progress has been made in understanding freshwater temperature regimes in Alaska, with more work still to be done. For example, a statewide freshwater temperature database, AKTEMP, was recently developed and published to help serve data from different entities. Work is currently underway to develop the next decadal stream and lake temperature action plan and to develop more tools to enhance AKTEMP’s utility for research and management. The goal of this symposium is to bring together interested parties to share recent research on freshwater temperature as it relates to Alaska’s freshwater fishes and to have a roundtable discussion to collaboratively inform the next stream and lake temperature action plan.

“Changing Shellfish Fisheries in Alaska” (chair: Jan Rumble)

In recent years, Alaska’s shellfish fisheries have undergone significant transformations owing to climate shifts, which have directly impacted the abundance and distribution of shellfish populations across the region. The repercussions of these changes are felt across various sectors, including commercial, subsistence, and sport fisheries. As shellfish populations fluctuate, fishermen, resource managers, and market stakeholders face unprecedented challenges and opportunities.

“Groundfish in Alaska: Increasing importance to sport, commercial, and subsistence fisheries” (chair: Jan Rumble)

Against the backdrop of declining halibut and crab populations, groundfish fishing has emerged as an increasingly vital sector within Alaska’s marine fisheries. The surge in popularity of groundfish fishing spans across sport, commercial, and subsistence, reshaping the dynamics of Alaska’s seafood landscape and coastal communities.

You can submit your abstract for any of these symposia by March 1, by following this link to the abstract submission form.