Alaska Salmon Research Task Force seeks public comment

Spring Chinook Salmon. Credit: Michael Humling, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – The Alaska Salmon Research Task Force is seeking comments on an early version of their DRAFT Report.  

The Alaska Salmon Research Task Force was created by an act of Congress in response to recent unprecedented shifts in Pacific salmon abundance in Alaska. The group first met in June of this year.

Co-chair of the task force, Ed Farley, explained their goal.

“My role is to address the purposes and the objectives within in the act. To ensure that Pacific salmon trends in Alaska regarding productivity and abundance are characterized and that the research needs are identified to prioritize scientific research needs for Pacific salmon in Alaska,” he said. “We’re to address the increased variability or decline in Pacific salmon returns in Alaska by creating a coordinated salmon research strategy and to support collaboration and coordination for Pacific salmon conservation efforts in Alaska.”

There are 19 members set with tackling the salmon research strategy for the state.

There is an upcoming opportunity for the public to give their thoughts on the existing knowledge and research gaps at the William A. Egan Civic & Convention Center in Anchorage. These meetings will take place Nov. 14 and 15.

The information gathered will be used to develop a coordinated salmon research strategy for sustainable salmon management in Alaska. This is due to be submitted in June of next year.

Comments on existing knowledge, research gaps, and applied research needs can also be given via this form at any time. The deadline for submitting input is Mar. 15, 2024. There are five questions all related to the task force purposes of the act.

Nov. 14 Online Event Registration Link:

Nov. 15 Online Event Registration Link:

Conference Call:

Dial: 1-888-946-3810

Passcode: salmon

Task Force meetings are always open to the public, but the November meeting will be the sole hybrid event. Most of the task force members will be in attendance.

Time has been reserved at the end of each bi-monthly Task Force meeting for public comment. 

Farley gave insight into their early draft.

“The task force has developed a lifecycle model for our outline of getting existing knowledge and gaps and research needs. And so, within that lifecycle model, we know that there are some potential impacts to salmon, depending on what part of their lifecycle they’re in. They spend time in the freshwater, and they spend time in the marine environment. And there’s a number of different time periods, within that lifecycle, where something might potentially impact survival,” he said. “We’ve put together some initial ideas on some of those potential impacts. Those include the impact of climate change, predation, and hatchery wild interactions. We also are looking at some carrying capacity in the ocean as a potential impact. We’re looking at marine harvest and freshwater harvest potential impacts.”

Within the potential impacts, the task force is looking at the lifecycle and determining where the research gaps are to better understand the potential impacts.

Farley said they are especially interested in comments regarding Indigenous/Traditional knowledge that can be applied to the Pacific salmon life cycle framework that the AKSRTF is developing. This is currently being worked on through their Arctic Kuskokwim Working Group.

He hopes to receive comments from every region of Alaska.

Farley also gave his perspective on why this action is needed now.

“I used to participate in commercial fisheries in Bristol Bay back in the ’80s. I did that, my family did that for quite some time. I’m connected at least at the commercial level for salmon and understand how variability can impact the bottom line for commercial fisheries,” he said. “We also have salmon returns in certain regions of Alaska that have been declining or just had a dramatic drop. And that has impacted cultures and traditions in some regions of Alaska.”

In other areas, such as Bristol Bay, where Farley used to commercial fish, there have been record returns.