Chinook (King) SalmonOn the heels of a two-day Chinook (King) salmon symposium held in Anchorage during October of 2012, Alaska’s Governor Sean Parnell announced his intention to fund a five-year, $30 million comprehensive Chinook salmon research effort. The Governor’s fiscal year 2014 budget will include $10 million to start the initiative based on work undertaken by participants at the event.

Goals of the project are to develop a better understanding of the factors that impact the abundance of Chinook stock in the state and then advance strategies geared to improving salmon returns. The initiative proposes to use information derived from 12 important indicator river systems to develop these strategies. These indicator rivers range from the southeast to the arctic regions of Alaska. Funding proposed for the effort will compliment $14.6 million in funds currently used by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to manage Chinook salmon within the state. 

In a press release addressing the research effort, Governor Parnell said, “The high turnout at the symposium indicates the importance Alaskans place on healthy Chinook salmon resources. The quality of the dialogue between scientists and the public was a critical step in developing a robust research plan that reflects both the most current scientific knowledge and the priorities of the people of Alaska. Alaska’s fishing industry is a vital economic engine in our state. Chinook salmon are a cornerstone of our culture and livelihood. I look forward to working with the Legislature in support of this research initiative.”

Research being proposed will include assessments of adult and juvenile salmon, genetics, biometrics and use of traditional knowledge. The State intends to partner with key Federal agencies to fill in knowledge gaps and supplement the data required for the initiative to be successful.

The research plan will include adult, juvenile and harvest assessments, as well as a look at genetics, biometrics and use of traditional knowledge. Projects will be conducted statewide and the research plan will be updated as more data and analyses become available. Information concerning the initial 2012 Alaska Chinook Salmon Symposium can be viewed at the ADF&G website.

Copyright © 2013 by Alan Sorum

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