Scientists from salmon producing countries volunteered to trawl for salmon in the Gulf of Alaska
On February 16, 2019, a Russian scientific vessel Professor Kaganovsky put out to sea from Vancouver, B.C., for an international wild salmon research voyage privately organized by a retired Canadian scientist Richard Beamish.
This five-week-long expedition joined by 21 researchers from Canada, Russia, Japan, South Korea and the United States will explore the Pacific Ocean environment in the Gulf of Alaska to provide insights on wintering of the salmon in open waters. According to Dr. Beamish, Canadian scientists in contrast to their Russian colleagues cannot predict changes to salmon stocks. Russians have been doing accurate abundance estimates and return forecasts on the east coast of Russia for over 20 years. But Canadians can offer their technology of DNA testing to identify exact fish stocks in the North Pacific. Using knowledge of the five salmon producing countries, the organizer believes that it will be possible to collect unique information that has never been gathered before. The project is impossible to implement without a proper international collaboration. The scientists expect to see what affects the salmon’s survivability. Such research has never been done in the Gulf of Alaska. The five salmon countries will get the information on where the fish is rearing in these waters.
“I don’t think that it could be done by a country because there are so many things as, for example, Russia had some issues with receiving money from the Salmon Foundation. They would accept the money from the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission,” says Richard Beamish in his interview for the Conversations That Matter.
As reported by Vancouver Sun, the Canadian scientist fundraised about $1 million for this expedition. Out of this money, $900,000 went for the vessel’s charter. Fisheries and Oceans Canada with $250,000; the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association with $200,000; the Pacific Salmon Commission with $150,000; and the Pacific Salmon Foundation with $100,000 were among the major donors. Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, and Lana Popham, B.C. Minister of Agriculture, were among the supporters of this research and took part in a send-off ceremony of the expedition in Vancouver.
The expedition in the Gulf of Alaska is the signature event of the 2019 International Year of the Salmon. The data collected by the researchers will be made public. The news about the progress will be published regularly and can be accessed here.