Report: Climate change to impact Alaska fisheries
A northward shift of the pollock stock into the northern Bering Sea and southern Chukchi Sea is among the impacts climate change is expected to bring to Alaska’s fisheries and wildlife in the coming years, according to a report released by the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) on Tuesday.
According to the “Climate Change Strategy” report, climate change may also increase stocks of predatory fish like arrowtooth flounder and mackerels, affecting production of targeted fish like groundfish and salmon; alter stream flows and water quality, affecting freshwater-dependent species like salmon and trout; and, through ocean acidification, impair shell formation in crab, shrimp and other shellfish and hinder zooplankton development, affecting zooplankton-dependent species like sockeye salmon.
In addition to listing the impacts, the report identifies the strategies and actions the ADF&G intends to take to address climate change and explains the need for additional research.
“The changing climate brings additional challenges to managing fish and wildlife and their uses. This strategy helps us define the challenges,” said Doug Vincent-Lang, the ADF&G special assistant who coordinated the report. “We believe focusing on these issues positions the department as an integral partner in managing impacted resources and effects on our economy and culture.”
The report will be presented to Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell’s climate change subcabinet, which was formed in 2007 to advise the governor on the preparation and implementation of an integrated climate change strategy for the state.