Winter in Unalaska by Sam Zmolek
Your voice in the Aleutians.
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  • The Bristol Bay red king crab fishery has been closed for two years, and along with it, Bering Sea snow crab have abruptly disappeared, causing another complete closure. Together, the fisheries generally bring in millions of dollars to the fleet and the coastal Alaska communities that rely on them. Since 2021, when king crab closed and snow crab saw a huge decline in harvest numbers, fishermen have taken an estimated $287.7 million hit. Without those fisheries and without that revenue, more and more boats are relying on other work like fishing for cod and small amounts of bairdi crab or summer tendering gigs just to make ends meet. So when a group of Bering Sea fishermen recently heard they’d be getting paid less than they hoped for cod this winter season, they figured they couldn’t afford to just sit by. But that’s exactly what they did. When the season opened, they didn’t go out to fish…and it worked.
  • A mid-September storm caused major damage in parts of Western Alaska. In Unalaska though, it brought strangely warm temperatures and a warning sign about future storm activity in the region. Wreckage from the historic storm spans about 1,000 miles of coastline from the Lower Kuskokwim area, up north to the Norton Sound region. Flooding and strong winds caused power outages, road and home damage and destroyed subsistence harvests and the means to replace those. While Unalaska was preparing for similar conditions and possible devastation, locals got lucky as the storm passed further west, near Shemya Island. Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said the high seas and strong winds were the remnants of Typhoon Merbok. And while they missed the Eastern Aleutians, they did push subtropical air into the region.
  • A group of international researchers is out in the Bering Sea this summer exploring a world we humans don’t know much about—the deep ocean. Scientists from 12 countries are conducting research on the AleutBio expedition, an initiative to map deep sea biodiversity in the eastern Bering Sea and the Aleutian Trench.
  • People living in Aleutian communities are no strangers to the occasional earthquake. But in recent years, the region has seen some ramped up seismic activity, including a magnitude-6.2 earthquake that hit just about 40 miles south of Unalaska earlier this month. KUCB’s Maggie Nelson sat down with Rob Witter, a research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, to hear more about the island’s recent earthquake and how that fits into the larger picture of seismic activity in the Aleutians.
  • Communities across the West Coast woke up Saturday morning to tsunami advisory alerts. An underwater volcano near the Kingdom of Tonga had erupted and sent waves thousands of miles across the ocean.Waves of up to about three feet reached parts of Alaska by Saturday morning. But hours before those waves arrived, sounds from the blast reached the homes of many Alaskans — all the way from Juneau to the Aleutians.
  • For the first two weeks of May, the tiny Aleutian community of Cold Bay hosted hundreds of military service members who gathered to assess equipment and…
  • People have been practicing tarot for centuries, looking to the cards for guidance and reflection. And today, you can find any number of themed tarot…
  • The Unalaska City School District opened its doors to students once again last month. And along with new mask-wearing, social distancing, and hand-washing…