Federal AK Salmon Research Task Force meets via Zoom this week

Bycatch by trawlers is not considered under "potential impacts of salmon production" in the draft report nor in "data gaps."

by | January 22, 2024

Tasked with finding data gaps and creating a ‘science plan’ – draft report bypasses bycatch

The Alaska Salmon Research Task Force will hold a virtual public meeting on January 25, 2024 from 9:30 am – 12:00 pm (Alaska Time). 

To Attend :

Online Event Registration Link: 

Public comments will be accepted at the end of the meeting or written comments can be provided to “inform the Task Force discussions and the development of its collaborative science plan.”

“At this time, we are seeking Public Comment on: Existing Knowledge, Research Gaps, and Applied Research that is needed to better understand the increased variability and declining salmon returns in some regions of Alaska,” the task force outreach says.

Send comments via this Google Form by March 15, 2024. 


Salmon Task Force background

In response to historic declines of salmon runs on the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers, Congress passed the Alaska Salmon Research Task Force Act and President Biden signed it into law in December 2022.  

The Act required the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Governor of Alaska, to convene an Alaska Salmon Research Task Force to “identify data gaps and produce a coordinated science plan 1 year after coming into force.”

The 19 member Task Force is charged with:

  • Reviewing and reporting on research about the Pacific salmon in Alaska
  • Identifying applied research needed to better understand salmon migration and declining salmon returns in some regions of Alaska
  • Setting up a Yukon and Kuskokwim River work group
  • Supporting sustainable management of salmon

Click HERE to see the Salmon Task Force members —

Draft report brushes off bycatch impacts

Click HERE for the draft report of the Salmon Task Force.

Some excerpts from the draft report:

On Page 15 — Potential Impacts of Production

“Initial efforts to determine potential impacts of production resulted in the following:
• Changing Climate Conditions
• Predation
• Freshwater Habitat Changes
• Marine Food Web Limitations
• Freshwater and Marine Harvest
• Hatchery/Wild Interactions
Are there any other Potential Impacts?” (LW: YES. TRAWL BYCATCH)

On Page 19 — Marine and Freshwater Fisheries Harvest

“Considerable concern has been expressed on the role of prohibited species catch in federal groundfish fisheries and bycatch within State fisheries have on abundance of certain species and stocks. There is also concern regarding the role hatcheries play in increasing harvest potential of certain species and the impact this may have on wild stocks. Harvesting the largest individuals from a population may play a role in reducing size-at-age through genetic change.
E.g. Gaps
E.g. Research Needs”  

That’s it for salmon bycatch concerns or requests for more “data gaps” in the Draft Report.

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.


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