After recently reading an Alaska Dispatch News headline with a preposterous claim, “Manager says increasingly expensive Susitna dam could help salmon,” (Dec. 18) I must protest with due respect. As a freshwater ecologist who has worked on salmon rivers for 40 years, I want to make it clear: Without question, a dam the size of Susitna-Watana will kill the Susitna as a salmon river.

VANCOUVER — Global warming is hard on the hearts of chinook salmon. A new study published in the journal, Nature Climate Change, finds that chinook can adapt to a warming environment — but only to a point.

Anthony Farrell, a professor of zoology and land and food systems at the University of B.C., explained that a juvenile chinook’s heart beats faster with warming water until, at 24.5° Celsius, it can beat no faster and “slows or goes arrhythmic.”

The coming year should prove a lucrative year for Alaska fisheries, even in the face of the doom and gloom surrounding the chinook salmon declines and a sketchy halibut situation.

The largest volume fishery, pollock, and the most valuable fishery, salmon, both have positive forecasts and large projected harvests; escapements for Alaska’s iconic king salmon were largely achieved in 2014; and various regulatory bodies have a full schedule to deal with both hurting and flourishing stocks.

Severe declines closed chinook salmon fishing on the Yukon River this year, and further steps to keep the big fish out of Bering Sea trawl nets are under consideration by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
The pollock B season dates could be shortened, with early potential ending dates of Sept. 15, Oct. 1 or Oct. 15. The season now remains open until November, although many boats stop fishing earlier. Changing the dates is among the options the fish council decided to review next year, at its meeting last week in Anchorage.

Bristol Bay salmon have been in the spotlight, and rightly so.

President Obama's decision to permanently protect Alaska's Bristol Bay and adjacent lands from oil and gas drilling is so clearly the correct decision that the only objections will come from those whose sole interest is the welfare of those two energy industries.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council voted unanimously Dec. 13 to amend several alternatives to reduce the chinook and chum salmon bycatch in the eastern Bering Sea pollock fishery.

The council is looking for chum bycatch reductions both by new measures and using existing management aimed at minimizing chinook salmon bycatch.

Bristol Bay, AK — Yesterday, President Obama took action authorized by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to protect Bristol Bay from all future oil and gas drilling.

Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) released the following statement regarding the measure:

President Obama just took action to protect one of Alaska's most powerful economic engines and one of America’s greatest national treasures: Bristol Bay.

Today the President took action to protect one of America's greatest natural treasures by signing a Presidential Memorandum to protect Bristol Bay. One of Alaska's most powerful economic engines, and home to one of the world's largest wild salmon runs, Bristol Bay has helped sustain Alaska Native communities for centuries. And every year, the region provides 40 percent of America’s wild-caught seafood, supporting $2 billion in commercial fishing.