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Auke Bay Laboratories (ABL)

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Marine Ecology & Stock Assessment Program

Pacific Salmon Commission Northern Fund Projects

Two proposals designed to assist NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in assessing and managing essential fish habitat (EFH) in Alaska’s coastal areas were accepted for funding by the Pacific Salmon Commission. The studies focus on fish habitat dynamics in large glacial rivers. These projects are joint efforts involving personnel from ABL and ADF&G. One study will assess spatial and temporal patterns of fish distribution in relation to environmental factors found in the Taku River estuary. The other project is designed to integrate historical and recent physical habitat and fish distribution information to evaluate habitat changes in the lower Taku River watershed.

Field work on the estuary project will commence in early May and be complete by late August. Work on the analysis of habitat change in the Taku watershed will focus this summer on geo-referencing existing imagery and habitat mapping data to compare to new imagery that will be acquired in fall 2007 and spring 2008.

By Mitch Lorenz

Sablefish Workshop

Sablefish symposia were held in 1983 and 1993 and brought together scientists to share information and discuss future needs of sablefish research in the North Pacific. In 2004, a meeting was called at the Western Groundfish Conference to discuss formation of a sablefish working group which would work to organize a third sablefish symposium. Because of conflicting assignments and schedules of scientists working on sablefish, this symposium has been delayed. However, an interim, informal sablefish workshop was organized and held 21-23 February 2007 at the AFSC in Seattle. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together Alaska, British Columbia, and West Coast sablefish assessment scientists to a small informal roundtable workshop to exchange information and knowledge, identify new research directions and needs, and investigate cooperative research opportunities.

Twelve participants attended the meeting representing the AFSC, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, ADF&G, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Sigma Plus Consulting, and Simon Fraser University. Each agency provided general overviews of the sablefish stocks in their region. Roundtable discussions were held focusing on specific agenda topics including stock assessment, survey methodologies, life history parameters, harvest strategy evaluations, and recruitment processes.

The group recommended future collaborative work among sablefish scientists to better understand sablefish migration and assessment. A workshop summary is being prepared for distribution to the Canada-U.S. Groundfish Technical Subcommittee and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s Plan Teams.

By Chris Lunsford

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