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Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (FOCI)

The AFSC and NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) cosponsored a multinational workshop, “North Pacific Climate Regimes and Ecosystem Productivity” at the Talaris Conference Center in Seattle, Washington 13-14 September 2004. In attendance were 37 scientists from the AFSC, PMEL, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Washington, University of California Irvine, International Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) and the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES). Scientists from NOAA Fisheries, Office of Science and Technology (Ned Cyr and Kenric Osgood) and NOAA NOS, Coastal Ocean Program (Elizabeth Turner) also participated. The purpose of the workshop was to present and discuss information that will guide the development of a science and implementation plan to monitor the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea for the purpose of providing management with indicators of climate-induced change in the Alaska marine ecosystems. The plan will describe the scientific design and rationale for a climate regimes and ecosystem productivity program. It will also identify partners, priorities, and a timeline. The program is called North Pacific Climate Regimes and Ecosystem Productivity.

The workshop began with a series of presentations of background information. Dr. Ned Cyr spoke to the participants about “NOAA, Fisheries, and Climate.” Anne Hollowed and Patricia Livingston (AFSC) presented “Single Species and Ecosystem-Based Management.” James Overland (PMEL)talked about climate and ecosystems from a physical science perspective, and Jeffrey Napp (AFSC) and Phyllis Stabeno (PMEL) presented a series of examples of how climate and ecosystems interact in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea. Participants were divided into groups after the initial presentations to discuss key scientific questions and issues of implementation. After each working group session, rapporteurs and facilitators reported back to the workshop participants. All written comments were submitted to the organizers for use in writing the science and implementation plan.

By Jeff Napp

NOAA Open House in St. Paul

  children at NOAA open house
Children from St. Paul and St. George Islands Pribilof Stewardship Camp learn about marine life during the NOAA Open House aboard the Aldebaran.

The Groundfish Assessment Program’s Bering Sea team had an opportunity to conduct a “NOAA Open House Day” aboard the chartered fishing vessel Aldebaran during its stay in St. Paul Harbor shortly after completing the annual Bering Sea shelf crab-groundfish bottom trawl survey. The children attending were all 6-12 year old Pribilof Islands (St. Paul and St. George) residents attending a summer educational program called Pribilof Stewardship Camp. Michael Etnier of the AFSC’s National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle directed the program this summer, which is in its twelfth year of providing cultural and science-based education for children. The main emphasis of the program, which started as a joint effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pribilof School District, is to revive traditional Aleut knowledge of the Bering Sea ecosystem and combine it with western-based science and research.

Scientists from the AFSC and International Halibut Commission aboard the vessel took time out to conduct a hands-on day for the children and their instructors. The children were shown various live specimens (such as juvenile skates, hermit crabs, sea stars, sea anemones, and Tanner crabs) which were collected at the end of the survey and also were given a tour of the boat while teaching them some aspects of the research that is conducted during the survey and also some aspects of commercial fishing in the Bering Sea.

The day was enjoyed by all, and everyone involved plans on organizing a repeat event next field season.

By Erika Acuna

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