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The Kodiak Laboratory at Whalefest Kodiak and ComFish Alaska

Kodiak Lab's booth
The AFSC Kodiak Laboratory's booth at ComFish Alaska, the state's largest and longest-running fisheries trade show.  Photo by Jan Haaga.

Robert Foy
Kodiak Laboratory Director Robert Foy spoke on the biology of squid to an audience of approximately 100 children and adults at Kodiak's Whalefest celebration.  Photo by Jan Haaga.

booth displays
Live displays of juvenile flatfish and larval king crab and Artemia sp. were available at the Kodiak Lab's ComFish booth.  Photo by Jan Haaga.

Outreach activities at the AFSC's Kodiak Laboratory are coordinated by research fishery biologist Jan Haaga. Participation includes giving tours of the Kodiak Fisheries Research Center Seawater Facility, visiting K-12 classrooms, leading field trips, and participating in community events.

Two of these events, Whalefest Kodiak and ComFish Alaska, take place in the spring and provide opportunities for local residents and visitors to learn about research programs at the Kodiak Lab as well as other research programs at the AFSC.

Whalefest celebrates the return of gray whales to Alaska waters. Since Whalefest's beginning in 1996, Kodiak Laboratory staff have participated in all aspects of the event, including coordinating the event in its early years, giving presentations, providing speakers, and leading whale-watching tours. In addition, staff from the AFSC's National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle have come to Kodiak to present information on marine mammal research in Alaska.

This year, Kodiak Laboratory Director Robert Foy gave a presentation on the biology and life history of large sharks and discussed ongoing research on salmon and Pacific sleeper sharks in the eastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. Foy also conducted a dissection of a large 3.2 m squid for an audience of approximately 100 children and adults.

On Earth Day, April 22, after a public screening of "A Sea Change," a documentary film on climate change, Foy gave a presentation on the impact of ocean acidification in the North Pacific and held a question and answer period for the audience.

ComFish Alaska is Alaska's largest and longest running fisheries trade show , sponsored each year by the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce ( NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service has long been a participant in the show and provided speakers for the seminars and booths in the trade show arena. The NMFS Alaska Regional Office, NMFS Enforcement, and NOAA Weather Service also have staffed booths at the event, making this a valuable venue in Kodiak to present NOAA's mission and projects to the public.

This year Kodiak Laboratory research biologist Sara Persselin gave a presentation titled "King crab aquaculture, research, and stock enhancement in Alaska" at the ComFish Fishery Policy Forum. At the booth, staff maintained live displays of juvenile flatfish, juvenile and larval king crab and Artemia sp. as well as a display of research posters and a running slideshow of the Kodiak Fisheries Research Centerís aquarium and touchtank animals.

The 3-day event was attended by an estimated 2,500 visitors from Kodiak and around the country.

By Jan Haaga and Robert Foy


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