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Bering Sea

Zoë Sobel / KUCB

 

Unalaska welcomed two Japanese-flagged vessels to port this week — one devoted to Arctic research, the other connected to controversial commercial whaling.

The first is the Oshoro Maru V, a research vessel for Hokkaido University's school of fisheries sciences.

 

Professor Toru Hirawake is the chief scientist onboard.

 

Kristin Cieciel/NOAA

 

Do jellyfish affect Bering Sea fisheries? And if so, how?

That’s what Yale University’s Jonathan Rutter wants to find out. The college senior is conducting a survey to learn more about the gelatinous creatures directly from fishermen.

 

“What are these impacts that jellyfish have on Bering Sea fisheries?" Rutter said. "And those impacts could be economic- or nuisance-based. I’m going in it with a pretty open mind.”

 

Courtesy of Washington Sea Grant

 

Native species are well adapted to living in the challenging environment of the Bering Sea, but increased shipping means there are more opportunities for invasive species to hitch a ride in. And as the waters warm, the ecosystem will become more hospitable making it easier for them to settle.

Zoologist Jesika Reimer is part of a team studying the threat.

Graphic courtesy NOAA/Alaska Fisheries Science Center

 

There’s a new tool to help scientists and others interested in monitoring how Bering Sea fisheries respond to a changing climate.

Biologist Steve Barbeaux of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center has created hundreds of graphics mapping where 22 species of fish spend their time during different life stages.

The data comes from annual trawl surveys dating back to 1984, but Barbeaux says that information was hard to analyze as a whole.

KUCB/John Ryan photo

Chapter 1. An Amazing Disaster

From a viewing blind in the middle of a seal rookery on Alaska's remote Pribilof Islands, it can be hard to fathom this place once holding vastly more life than it does now.

Untold thousands of chubby brown bodies drape over boulders and sprawl across the tundra into the distance: northern fur seals. Their bleating, groaning and barking fill the cool, salty air.