Words by Anita Kroska, APU student
In November 2017, Fisheries, Aquatic Science, and Technology (FAST) Laboratory members Dr. Nathan Wolf, Sarah Webster, Anita Kroska, Sioned Sitziewicz, and Brian Ritchie travelled to Saint Malo— a historic fortified city on the northern coast of France— to present their work on Pacific halibut at the International Flatfish Symposium. Also in attendance were FAST Lab affiliate faculty members Dr. Josep Planas from the International Pacific Halibut Commission and Dr. Craig Rose a retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researcher who now runs FishNext Research. The Symposium, which is held every three years, was attended by scientist from over 16 countries including Canada, Japan, Belgium, France, Spain, and Norway.
Over five intensive days, researchers presented work that explored important topics related to the biology and management of flatfish species. Notable themes included applied fisheries science, climate change, environmental modelling, the spatial structure of fish stocks, otolith microchemistry, genetics, and phenotypic plasticity. The Symposium themes aligned well with the primary mission of the FAST Lab— to advance the state of fisheries science by addressing current management needs through collaborative partnerships with industry, governmental, and non-governmental organizations.
In addition to the fascinating presentations, highlights of the conference included a visit to the abbey and city-island of Mont Saint Michel, an UNESCO World Heritage Site; exploring shops and restaurants along the cobble streets of historic Saint Malo; donning iconic Bretagne striped shirts; delighting in local cheese and pastries; and walking the high city ramparts to enjoy views of sand and sea.
If you would like to learn more about the International Flatfish Symposium, fisheries research in the FAST Lab, or local/national opportunities for involvement in applied fisheries science, visit the FAST Laboratory webpage at www.alaskafastlab.org.