Born and raised in the Mat-Su Valley of Alaska, I spent a good portion of my life exploring the Talkeetna Mountain range and the many watersheds it feeds. Upon graduating from the University of Alaska Anchorage in 2010 with a degree in Biology, I began a career as a field technician, protected species observer, and environmental consultant in Alaska’s natural resource and development industry. After almost ten years of working on various project throughout the State, I happily returned to the academic pursuit and look forward to developing my research skills and scientific inquiry methods through F.A.S.T. Lab’s fast paced Environmental Science Program. For my project, I will be working on a local fisheries issue detailed below:
Rougheye and Blackspotted rockfish species (RBRF), Sebastes aleutainus and Sebastes melanostictus, respectively, of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Fishery (BSAI), areas 542 and 543, has recently been listed as prohibited retention catch (PRC) as a result of the exceedance of Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the 2019 season. In recent years (2017, 2018 and 2019), RBRF TAC as by-catch has been exceeded yearly, despite vessels attempts to directly target other species, affecting specifically the Atka Mackerel and POP fisheries, while avoiding RBRF. This growing trend of increasing RBRF biomass has been documented in on-vessel fisheries observer data over the last few years, but is not seen in the population trends documented by data collected from the biennial groundfish trawl survey (surveys) for the BSAI. Conversely, recent surveys document a decreasing trend in biomass for these rockfish in the Aleutian Island areas.
Funding for this work is provided by the Groundfish Forum via the Alaska Education Tax Credit Program.