Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Comprehensive Salmon Research Initiative Proposed for Alaska

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell says he will include in his fiscal year 2014 budget $10 million for the first component of a five-year, $30 million comprehensive Chinook Salmon Research initiative, to increase information on king salmon stocks.

The plan is to develop strategies to enhance viability and increase returns, using improved information from 12 indicator river systems from Southeast Alaska to the Arctic. That $10 million will complement existing funds in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s operating budget, Parnell said. The department already spends some $14.6 million annually for Chinook salmon-related research and management.

The announcement comes in the wake of a Chinook salmon symposium in Anchorage that attracted more than 400 stakeholders.

The research plan includes adult, juvenile and harvest assessments, plus genetics, biometrics and local and traditional knowledge. Plans call for statewide projects, with research plans to be updated as more data and analyses become available.

A draft research plan was presented and extensively discussed during the two-day Chinook salmon symposium in October. Parnell said the quality of the dialogue between scientists and the public at that meeting was a critical step in developing a robust research plan reflecting the most current scientific knowledge and the priorities of Alaska residents.

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