For towns such as Seward, who owe their existence largely to sea-based commerce in all its forms, the ocean is the nexus for nearly every aspect of life. As a superhighway for trade and travel and a source for nearly limitless bounty, the ocean provides many of the cornerstones that shape a healthy community.
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Catches for next year’s groundfish fisheries reflect ups and downs for Alaska’s key species — pollock and Pacific cod — and the stocks appear to be heading north to colder waters.
A second annual challenge organized by proponents of the blue economy is seeking participants to identify difficulties in getting ocean related products to market and develop prototypes to do so.
There is a big push to develop the world’s oceans and Alaska aims to be a part of that blue economy. Alaska’s blue economy includes traditional sectors such as fisheries and tourism as well as new ventures from underwater drones to biofuels to kelp beer.
The Blue Pipeline business incubator will accept applications for its first cohort of businesses through the end of the month, an extension beyond the initial Sept. 12 deadline.
Former fisheries observer turned university research scientist Nicole Baker is on a mission to recycle thousands of pounds of discarded fishing nets and ropes into new products. The key, said Baker, during a challenge workshop in Anchorage Sept. 8-9, is to get people to see all these nets not as waste, but as raw materials.
On September 8, Peter Murphy, Alaska Regional Coordinator for the Marine Debris Program, presented at the inaugural Alaska Net Hack Challenge in Anchorage, with remote participation from Kodiak. Net hacks are events where participants work in teams to devise new and interesting solutions for what to do with retired or derelict fishing nets.
Tiny cod fish are reappearing around Kodiak. Researchers aim to find out if it is a blip, or a sign that the stock is recovering after warming waters caused the stocks to crash.
Plans are underway for the International Year of the Salmon in 2019, sponsored in part by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission. The NPAFC has for 25 years promoted research collaboration among scientists in its five-member countries – Canada, Russian, Japan, Korea and the U.S.
Alaska boasts over half of the nation’s coastline, nearly two-thirds of seafood catches and more ocean than any other region. But Alaska’s economic output accounts for only about four percent of the US ocean economy.