In February, TASSC hosted a one-day workshop entitled "How do Tribes and Alaska Native Co-Management Organizations Participate in the Federal and State Process for Regulation of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Mammals: What is Working, What is Not, and Recommendations for Moving Forward."
The Workshop was well attended with a mix of representatives from Tribal Governments, federal and state agencies, ANOs, and interested individuals. Participants heard presentations from NPFMC, USFWS, NMFS, ADF&G, U.S. Marine Mammal Commission, Chugach Regional Resources Commission, Trustees for Alaska, Alaska Sea Grant, John Sky Starkey, Joseph Spaeder and Larry Merculieff.
After the presentations and associated discussion, participants divided into five groups to discuss the presentations, and their experiences with tribal consultation and co-management. Each group took note of the recommendations individuals voiced, made modifications and passed them all forward to the entire group when they reconvened.
• There should be equal representation of Alaska Natives on all board and organizations that make decision about fish and wildlife management
For a full list of the recommendations or for more information, please refer to the workshop report, available electronically from our office at 1-800-474-4362 (AK) or 907-286-2377, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Alaska Sea Otter and Steller Sea Lion Commission would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and extend our best wishes for the quickly coming new year!
In April, the State of Alaska and the State of Washington agreed to work together and obtain an independent review of the recent Biological Opinion on the impact of groundfish fisheries in the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska on Steller sea lions. A four person panel was put together, first with the selection of 2 co-chairs, who then selected the other 2 team members. Their charge was to review a number of questions and its jeopardy finding that the fisheries, as described, is "likely to adversely modify the designated critical habitat for the western DPS of the Steller sea lions."
The draft report was available in July and the final prepublication report was posted in October on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation webpage. In the report, they grouped their findings into four main categories:
Public hearings were held in Anchorage on June 2, and in Seattle on August 22. At the August hearing, Dr. Doug DeMaster, the Science and Research Director of the Alaska Fishery Science Center, presented on NMFS's review of the draft report. Information on the review, copies of presentations given at the hearing, and the pre-publication final report can be found on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation webpage, as well as downloaded from our website.
Local residents in the Arctic, along the North Slope and along the Bering Sea have been finding sick live and dead seals on their beaches. Over 100 sick or dead & diseased seals have been reported. It seems to be mainly affecting ringed seals, however similar symptoms have been found in some walrus and bearded or spotted seals. Sick seals and walrus have also been found Russia, and sick seals have been found in Canada.
These sick animals have had blisters/lesions on the face or flippers, patchy hair loss and may have hair that is easy to pluck off. They may also be lethargic and have trouble breathing.
No known cases have been observed in harbor seals, and no known cases have been reported from the Bristol Bay area, Aleutians, or the Gulf of Alaska.
If you come across a dead stranded or sick seal (or any marine mammal) it is very important to report it. NMFS is seeking sick seal carcasses so that they can be necropsied to find out what is making these animals so sick.
Please photograph any sick seals that you may encounter and contact NMFS immediately, who may ask that it be shipped COD to Anchorage or Barrow for necropsy.
This outbreak is being investigated by a large group of organizations and agencies. Despite numerous tests being run, no definite cause of the outbreak has yet been found. Focus has been on infectious disease. Initial findings are negative for common viral pathogens (poxvirus, herpesvirus, papillomavirus, morbillivirus, calicivirus). Work is underway to investigate fungal and bacterial sources, plus plans to test for other sources, such as harmful algal bloom biotoxins, chemical contaminants and radionuclides (NMFS November 22, 2011).
If you harvest or find a seal that is sick, please take precautions, including:
More information can be found on the following website:
Source: NMFS, 22 November 2011. 2011 Arctic Seal Disease Outbreak: Update on Investigation and Findings.
The Chugach Regional Resources Commission is entering the third year of its groundbreaking project "IQSAK K-12 Science Curriculum Project" funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The purpose of this project is to develop a K-12 curriculum for the Chugach region that reflects Alaska Native beliefs, values and understandings of the natural world and science education standards. Chugach Regional Resources Commission believes that a culturally-based natural resource science curriculum would enhance Alaska Native Students' education and motivation to pursue post-secondary degrees and careers in the sciences and natural resource management. The project name, Iqsak, means a fish hook or a halibut hook in Sugcestun language.
In development, we have recently sent the curriculum lesson plans to be piloted by the schools of the Chugach region, and the piloting will continue this fall. A program web site has been set up online, and the curriculum and lesson plans will soon be available there. We are also developing a curriculum DVD that will be sent to the schools at the end of the project. Both the website and DVD are done with the help of Darin Yates of Web Mountain Media. You can visit our website at http://www.iqsak.com.
Project staff has been collecting, translating and transcribing Sugcestun interviews from the region. These interviews will be an important addition to the lesson plan support materials, and will be added to the website document library during the next project year. The project staff has done extensive research on regional educational materials that can be used in the curriculum, and permissions to use these materials are currently being gathered.
There will be five final curriculum units: 1) Oceans and Rivers; 2) Beaches and Tidal Zones; 3) The Earth, Forests and Trees; 4) Weather, Wind and Air; and 5) Physical Science Principles in Everyday Life. There are altogether eight lesson plans in the curriculum. The lesson plan topics were chosen with the help of the Chugach communities and elders. The lesson plans focus on fresh water, herring, beach foods, tides, population cycles, forest resources, weather, climate change, sound, force, NYO's and more.
One lesson plan we have, focuses on weather. In this lesson, students will investigate weather systems that affect the Chugach region. Students will learn what activities are affected by the weather in the communities, and examine some of the ways that the Chugach tribes predict the weather and find out what the weathermen are. Students are also introduced to the Sugcestun words related to the topic.
Both Alaska and National Science Education Standards are met in our lesson plans, and the "Five E's" approach is used in the lesson plan procedures, where the E's stand for: engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate. The 5 E's allows students and teachers to experience common activities, to use and build on prior knowledge and experience, to construct meaning, and to continually assess their understanding of a concept. In the lesson plan materials for the educators, we have collected lists of related literature and curriculum, video or audio about the topic from the region, interviews with Alutiiq elders, and links to the communities, related projects and materials. Staff made great effort to make these materials available electronically, but are somewhat limited by permissions granted to use some materials.