Experts Meet to Decipher Mysterious Declines
, April 15, 2005 (ENS) - Salmon biologists, habitat specialists,
fisheries and agency managers and international leaders from five
nations will gather on Sunday for an in depth look at ways to
conserve and manage salmon throughout the North Pacific.
The four day State of
the Salmon 2005 conference brings stakeholders together to tackle
what may be the largest issue facing one of the most important
fisheries in the world - lack of information.
"Salmon and the
people charged with managing them are facing increasingly complex
challenges," said conference keynote speaker Fran Ulmer,
former Lieutenant Governor of Alaska and now director of the
Institute of Social and Economic Research, at the University of
Alaska- Anchorage. "We need more reliable science and the
ability to share it across national boundaries in order to be
effective stewards of our treasured salmon runs."
Hundreds of millions
of dollars are spent each year on local and regional salmon
research and conservation throughout the North Pacific yet the
distribution of salmon is shrinking across their entire range and
extinctions are marching northward. Explanations for these changes
runs in western Alaska, where most habitat remains pristine, is
clearly a warning sign. Even more alarming is our inability to
explain why," says Dr. Xanthippe Augerot, co-director of
State of the Salmon, the non-profit consortium which organized the
collaboration and convening the best talent available, we hope to
set the stage for successful salmon conservation and management
for decades to come," said Augerot.
At the conference,
State of the Salmon will introduce its international monitoring
strategy, a new framework that will accommodate and synthesize
data from around the North Pacific in a panoramic perspective of
status and trends. That big-picture view will foster better
management decisions in the future and enable salmon managers to
adapt in the face of climate change and other threats, the
"Until now, the
process for putting the pieces of the salmon management puzzle
together has been very expensive and time consuming," says
Dr. Phil Mundy, former Chief Fisheries Scientist for the Division
of Commercial Fisheries of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
"The State of the Salmon monitoring strategy builds a process
that can improve the future of salmon management by fostering a
new level of cooperation and collaboration. Alaska has the
opportunity to continue its tradition of leading the way in salmon
management by joining this effort."
In Alaska the fishing
industry is the state's largest private employer. Salmon fishermen
earned $162 million or about 17 percent of the total amount
Alaskan fishermen received for their catch in 2002.
State of the Salmon
chose to convene its international conference in Anchorage because
Alaska is the center of the range for Pacific salmon, which spans
six countries: Russia, Canada, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and
the United States.
Since 1982, Alaska has
been responsible for more than 40 percent of the Pacific salmon
catch. Sustaining Alaska's salmon economies is embedded in the
state constitution and Alaska's fishery managers are empowered to
make local harvest decisions; elsewhere in the United States,
managers do not have the authority.
More information and a
complete conference agenda at: http://www.stateofthesalmon.org