A new study in Kodiak will hopefully shed some light on what Pacific cod go through when they’re young.
“We don’t know how they do in the winter. Where they are. What they are eating. What their energetic requirements are.”
One of the leaders of the project, Mike Litzow is a researcher for the University of Alaska Fairbanks based in Kodiak.
He said the recent crash in the Pacific cod population in the Gulf of Alaska was a wake-up call that there’s a lot to be learned about the early life stages of Pacific cod.
A few years ago a body of warm water settled in the gulf and it may have made it difficult for juvenile cod to survive.
“The operating hypothesis right now is that you can warm the temperatures up and they’ll survive if there’s enough food, but there wasn’t enough food to meet those requirements.”
The National Marine Fisheries Service, according to Litzow, recently found that the Pacific cod population had dropped by about 60 percent since 2015.
The North Pacific Fisheries Pacific Council reduced the amount of Pacific cod that can be caught by commercial fishermen in the Gulf of Alaska by about 80 percent because of the crash.
The decrease in cod will be hard for Kodiak fisherman because Pacific Cod is one of the bigger fisheries in the region.
Litzow thinks Kodiak will have to face the possibility that more fishery disasters could be in its future because of climate change.
“In coming years and decades for Kodiak, we have to think about there being more events like this and more unusual temperatures and more surprises like the pink salmon return in 2016 or this cod collapse.”
Litzow hopes his research will help Kodiak adapt to a changing marine environment.
The study will begin later this month.
- Corri Feige is not new to the agency she will now lead — she was previously the head of DNR's Division of Oil and Gas under Gov. Bill Walker.
- British Columbia is taking steps to fully clean up the abandoned Tulsequah Chief Mine. The defunct Canadian mine upstream from the Taku River has been leaching acid for more than 60 years.
- An Anchorage Superior Court judge issued a final order on the lawsuit, which was filed in August by the ACLU of Alaska, the group Dunleavy for Alaska and Palmer resident Eric Siebels.
- The Urban Indian Health Institute conducted the report over the past year amid concern that Native American and Alaska Native women are vanishing in high numbers, despite a lack of government data to identify the full scope of the problem.