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Advocacy in Action: Climate-Ready Fisheries

Updated: Apr 30, 2023

There are a variety of responses to climate change. Some can be characterized as reactive, anticipating the likeliest losers and investing in species that are quick to reproduce; others are adaptive, framed in terms of honoring abundance and maximizing the value of limited or fluctuating capacities. Climate-ready fisheries have been a part of AMCC’s advocacy for years, and while the institutions we attempt to influence have been slow to change, we have begun applying people power to contribute to the upcoming era of adaptive management. Awareness of working with and within a dynamic climate informs all of our advocacy, and we wanted to share two recent highlights with you.


Members of the Scientific and Statistical Committee have highlighted that temperature data may serve a useful role in determining important areas for a variety of species. In response, AMCC helped to advocate for congressional discretionary spending to be directed to the purchase of temperature sensors that can be deployed on fishing gear. The pilot project has just concluded, and our partners at the Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers are now compiling survey data from their study of red king crab abundance and distribution in the Bering Sea. With the ability to also collect size and sex information for all crab caught, temperature data from throughout the water column provides an intriguing backdrop to crab distribution.


Photos Courtesy of Cory Lescher, Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers


Stay tuned for results - we expect to reference this work in our continuing efforts to aid in the recovery of Alaska’s iconic Bristol Bay red king crab. Later this year, we will incorporate new sensors that collect even more data on oceanographic conditions that are important for a biodiverse ocean.


Additionally, with the guidance of our Fisheries Scientist, AMCC has begun to utilize data sets that are referenced in analyses but difficult to find in raw form. In working to explain the variance in bycatch rates of chum salmon from year to year, we decided to look at climate factors as possible explanations. Lo and behold, in warm years chum salmon appear to be more vulnerable to being caught as bycatch. We suspect that is because they are swimming closer to the seafloor, where trawl gear is dragged.



In addition, we have begun to map times of year and statistical areas where bycatch rates increase with the hope to inform regulation that can bring more salmon home to salmon-dependent communities.


If you like these science updates, let us know at fish@akmarine.org and share your insight or questions - we will publish more of our work on our website in the coming months!

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