All posts by dlpowell2

First Evidence Found That ‘Cryptic Female Choice’ is Adaptive

News With Fins #5

This week I got the chance to read an article on a study of Chinook salmon spawning and how this may also show us a better understanding of human and other animal reproductions.


Red Salmon.

Credit: © Olga Vasik / Fotolia

Researchers from New Zealand’s University of Otago where studying Chinook salmon that has shown evidence that “cryptic female choice’ (CFC) enhances fertilization success and embryo survival (University of Otago). Through this research they have found the cryptic female choice involves females using physical or chemical mechanisms to control which male fertilizes their eggs after mating, and is known to occur in a number of species. They found that ovarian fluid is being secreted with the eggs which can help or hinder sperm swiftness depending of the male it came from.

“The females OF give off a bigger boost to some male’s sperm and not others, these speedier sperm have a significantly higher chance of winning the race to fertilize eggs and the resulting offspring have a better chance to survive as embryos’ (University of Otago). So the good side of this is that the males that are more fit and are more likely to survive have sperm that reacts to the ovarian in a way that will speed up the sperm to beat out the weaker not as fit salmon’s sperm. This in turn will keep the salmon strong and weed out the weaklings. Survival of the fittest in other words.

With this we can see that interfering with a salmons natural spawning can make things more complicated. For an example that I used last week, a fish ladder was put into Anan near Wrangell Alaska that in turn made it easier for all salmon to run up the rapids of the river. With all the weak and strong salmon in the slower paced river after the rapids, the female’s choice is no more. All males now have a chance to fertilize a set of eggs, which in turn canceled out survival of the fittest and those fish that would have normally not survived or bred had the chance to breed and made a group of weak salmon eggs that did not survive. “Additionally, after assessing the genetic quality of the males we found embryo survival was linked to being sired by high quality fathers’ (University of Otago).


Work Cited:

University of Otago. “First evidence found that ‘cryptic female choice’ is adaptive.” ScienceDaily, 23 March 2016. Web 

It’s Herring Season! Sitka Sac Roe Fishery Opens on Short Notice

The commercial herring season opened Wednesday March 16, 2016, which was more abruptly than in past years. Herring seiners had about 2 days’ notice to get ready for the Herring opening near Sitka. Alaska Department of Fish & Game Dave Gordon got on the radio for a countdown on channel 10 to announce the 2:45 p.m. herring opening along the shoreline of Kruzof Island, about 10 miles northwest of Sitka.


Photo: (KCAW graphic)

As of press time, fishing had not closed. But the openers are typically 2-3 hours, as seiners hone in on schools of large fish with adequate proportions of females. The value in this fishery comes from the egg sacs inside the females, which are stripped, salted and sold overseas in Asia.

There are 48 active permit holders in this fishery, which is very little compared to other fisheries here in Alaska. There is no question as to why ether. The price for a permit is $227,500 and this is not including the price to buy a boat and all the gear as well. These seiners are targeting 14,741 tons of herring this year and processing capacity limits fishermen to no more than 4,500 tons per day.



This is a hug fishery here in Alaska and it was a great surprise to all that it was to open so early based off of other years. This was due to the fact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game noticed the Herring showing up in great numbers. It was in hopes that starting early would make sure that everyone got a chance at the herring and that the herring wouldn’t be gone, ready to spawn by the time the normal herring season started. The commercial fishery is over when the guideline harvest level is met, or the herring start to spawn like stated above.



Work Cited:

Woolsey, Robert. It’s Herring Season! Sitka Sac Roe Fishery Opens on Short Notice. Alaska Public Media. March 17, 2016. Web.

Alaska Fish Factor: Fishing Issues to Take a Back Seat

Fishing issues will take a back seat to budget cutting when the Alaska legislature convenes on January 19 for its 90-day session, but two early fish bills (and one hold-over) already are getting attention. One new measure aims to stop the migration of commercial fishing permits outside of the state. “We lost over 50 percent of our permits over the 1973 original issuance of permits’ (Robin Samuelsen).

Forty years ago at Bristol Bay, 36 percent of the more than nearly 2,000 permits were held by locals and 64 percent by nonlocals. By 2013, the numbers were 19 percent local and 81 percent nonresident. This sort of thing is really hurting Alaskan’s in the long run. All that money made from commercial fishing is going towards business out of the state. This plan could really help in keeping money made in Alaska to stay in Alaska. What is meant by this is the money that is made by fishermen here in Alaska is used in local stores and shops, which in turn can help local communities with money problems.

Jonathan Kriess said he intends to introduce a bill that would establish a permit bank to reverse the outmigration trend. The bank would buy nonresident permits and lease them to young fishermen who otherwise could not afford them. It would offer several types of fishing permits (Alaska has 65) that would be proportional and reflective of reginal fisheries. A permit bank would not cost the state any money, because it would fall to local communities to raise money.

The whole purpose of this bill is in hopes to bring money back to Alaska. It is also in hopes to bring money back to small Native villages around Alaska and rural towns in Alaska. Our communities are hurting for money and commercial fishing is a huge industry for Alaska to not capitalize on. We need our own permits back in the State to help the entire Alaska community. This bill could only help in my opinion.


Work Cited:

The Fish Site. Alaska Fish Factor: Fishing Issues to Take a Back Seat.                        back-seat/

One way to try to reduce bycatch in Alaska: Tax it!

Starting this year in 2016, there is a new bill being talked about that gives the right to tax Alaska fisheries that unintentionally reel in specific types of fish a one percent tax on the value of Chinook salmon and halibut bycatch the person caught with trawl or longline gear in Alaska during the year. The bill is called House Bill 358 and is sponsored by Rep. Mark Neuman, R-Big Lake who will establish a fisheries bycatch tax.

Neuman said the main purpose of the bill is to generate conversation on the issue of bycatch. “This is to bring a little bit more attention to the issue. It’s been talked about by Alaskans for years, and how it affects our fisheries. My whole goal is to help reduce bycatch.’ (Neuman, 2015).


By: Esther Kennedy

The one thing that this bill is trying to avoid is taxing the little guys and by this they mean people who are setnetters and so on. This tax is supposed to be focused on larger fisheries that deal with longlines, tralls and large nets. “Some of the bigger ocean processors’ (Neuman, 2016).

If people are catching to much bycatch in our state and making a profit from it why not tax them? “Why should they not pay a tax on resources they’re taking from Alaska’ (Neuman, 2016). These people that are catching and making money from this bycatch are more focused on the bycatch than the fish they are supposed to be catching, because they are not taxed on it like the rest of Alaska fisheries. They tend to make more money off the bycatch than the original quota fish.

This tax is going to hopefully stop fishermen from focusing on bycatch over the quota fish. Every other fishery in Alaska is taxed, so why not tax the bycatch as well? The money from this tax of bycatch could help towards keeping other fisheries up and going, including salmon fisheries, cod fisheries, halibut fisheries and so on. It’s a good idea all around in that it will stop over fishing of bycatch fish and the money will help out Alaska fisheries all around.


Work Cited:

Zak, Annie. One way to try to reduce bycatch in Alaska: Tax it. Alaska Dispatch News. February 25, 2016. Web.

Hello my name is Big Red “Sockeye”

Fish #1

Name: Big Red

About me:

Common name: Sockeye Salmon

Scientific name: Oncorhynchus Nerka

Who I’d like to meet:Fish #2

Photo by: David Hall

I would like to meet all these other sockeye in the photo above to party with when it’s time to spawn.

Who and what I would like to avoid:

I would really like to avoid many things before I spawn. Stating the top of the list is people. Yes Humans and their boats with the fishing poles and nets. Another big one I want to avoid is eagles, they tend to try and grab me right out of the water. Bears are also a huge stay away from. They like to chase me down when I’m near shore or swimming up a river. Don’t even get me started on seal, sea lion and killer whales. They swim in the ocean with me and never leave me alone when given the chance. The other thing I like to avoid is fox’s. They like to snatch us up out of rivers also if they are hungry enough.


This includes the school of fish I tend to stick with while swimming around waiting to go up river to spawn. Too many friends to name them all sorry.


General: I love swimming the West coast line with my school of friends, spending time avoiding my enemy’s and trying to survive. Swimming around eating Zooplankton, small crustaceans and small fish is another one of my favorite things to do. Another big one is swimming back up North to Alaska. This is one of my favorite things to do, well besides trying to avoid the humans and there nets.

Videos: There is a great video of a bunch of my friends getting ready to spawn in in McDonald Lake here in Alaska. The link is right below if you would like to see.

Books: There are so many books out there about my species and even some that are fiction, but I don’t have a favorite. If you want to read a book about me, you can go to your local library, or even go to Fish and Game and they even have books and information on me.

Fish to look up to: Although I speak highly of myself and my species, the King salmon is the fish I look up to. They get so much bigger than we do and I feel that this may scare some predators away if I was bigger. They also have the word King in their name. Who wouldn’t want that in their name? Makes anyone sound like a dominant species if you ask me. Although I think us sockeye are a much more beautiful color with our greens, blues, and reds.

Fish #3

Looks like this King salmon is not one I would like to look up to though, seeing how it was caught by this human.

Life so far:

We sockeye salmon are anadromous, living in the ocean but entering fresh water to spawn. We spend one to four years in fresh water and one to three years in the ocean. When it comes to spawning we tend to try and spawn if we are ready during the summer months, between June and July. Even through August we are still roaming around looking for home.


Dating: Looking for any female that is willing to spawn with me. I don’t have a preference just any one would do.

Hometown: My hometown is really the place I was born, seeing how I will one day return there to spawn myself. But while I am in the ocean I tend to swim up and down the West Coast of the United States, since I am an Alaskan Sockeye. I can also be found over near Asia and on the up end of Alaska as well.Fish #4

Body type: I can measure anywhere from 18 to 31 inches in length and can weigh 4-15 pounds. Well at least after I grow up that is. Us sea going sockeye have iridescent silver flanks, a white belly and a metallic green-blue top, giving us another name to go by, which is “blueback’. As we get ready to spawn we turn brilliant red and our heads get a green coloring to it. This is why we are also called “Red’ salmon. We males develop a humped back and a hooked jaw filled with tiny, sharp, visible teeth. It still confuses me why the females even find us attractive in this stage. As juveniles, we have dark, oval par marks on our sides. These par marks are short-less than the diameter of the eye-and rarely extend below the lateral line.

Family: My parents died before I was born, so I don’t know them. When I am ready to spawn I will go up stream and scout an area that looks great for my future children. The females will be right behind us and will let us males know when they are about to lay their eggs by gliding there anal fin to the gravel. The dominant males will breed with the females by us both releasing our gametes or eggs and sperm above the spot the female dug up. I won’t know my kids or my kid’s mother for very long, but I still consider them family none the less.


Alaska commercial halibut quota goes up for first time in 15 years

Alaska’s halibut stocks are showing signs of going up for the first time in the past 15 years. Coastwide Pacific halibut harvest is at 29.89 million pounds, a 2.3 percent increase from 2015. For Alaska the catch was at 21.45 million pounds, which was an increase of 200,000 pounds.

As stated by Doug Brown “The feeling is the stocks are up and the resource is stabilizing and recovering, and it’s the first meeting in a long time that there weren’t any areas that are looking at double-digit (percentage) cuts.’

They are also expecting Halibut prices to go up from 6$ a pound in this next year, which will bring in more people fishing there halibut quota more than normal.

“Although the annual survey showed increased catches for the first time in nearly 12 years, scientists said they remain concerned that the fish are still growing slowly. They also had questions about potential inaccurate accounting’s of halibut taken as bycatch in other fisheries (Laine Welch, 2016)”.

Some other interesting halibut news for Alaska. There was two different proposals that both ended up getting thumbed down. The first was to reduce the legal halibut size limit from 32 inches to 30 inches, in hope to reduce wastage of small fish. The other proposal was to limit the maximum size to 60 inches in hopes to protect large breeders.

Here are the 2016 halibut catch limits in millions of pounds:

  • 2C (Southeast): 4.95, up 0.3.
  • 3A (Central Gulf of Alaska): 9.6, down 0.5.
  • 3B (Western Gulf):  2.71, up 0.6.
  • 4A (Western Aleutians): 1.39, flat
  • 4B (Bering Sea): 1.14, flat
  • 4CDE (Bering Sea): 1.66, up 0.4
  • Total:21.45 million pounds, up 0.2

Work Cited:

Welch, Laine. Alaska Commercial Halibut Quota Goes Up for First Time in 15 Years. Alaska Dispatch News. January 30, 2016. Web