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158 posts in Research

“Fishes of the Salish Sea” Book Release

“Art and science collide magnificently in this monumental three-volume celebration of the 260 species of fishes that infuse the inland marine waters of Washington State and British Columbia, with hidden beauty, remarkable diversity and intriguing ways of living. This long-awaited work is a must-have not just for serious scientists and devotees of exquisite natural history artistry, but for any and all who find joy in exploring the wonders of nature.”―Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer in Residence, Founder, Mission Blue

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Chemical records in teeth confirm elusive Alaska lake seals are one of a kind

Five seals rest on the frozen surface of Iliamna Lake in Alaska.

Hundreds of harbor seals live in Iliamna Lake, the largest body of freshwater in Alaska and one of the most productive systems for sockeye salmon in the Bristol Bay region. These lake seals are a robust yet highly unusual and cryptic posse. Although how the seals first colonized the lake remains a mystery, it is thought that sometime in the distant past, a handful of harbor seals likely migrated from the ocean more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) upriver to the lake, where they eventually grew to a consistent group of about 400. These animals are important for Alaska Native subsistence hunting, and hold a top spot in the lake’s diverse food web.

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Ancestral sockeye salmon started in rivers and then invaded lakes

Sockeye salmon are found in many lakes and rivers in the northern Pacific Ocean, and have radiated outwards into regions formerly under glaciers during the most recent ice age. There are three main ecotypes: river-spawners (that migrate directly from the ocean to spawn in rivers); beach-spawners (that spawn on beaches in lakes) and tributary-spawners (that spawn in river tributaries that feed into lakes). 

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Few of the world’s longest rivers still flow uninterrupted into the ocean

Rivers are crucial components of human well-being, contributing water, food, hydroelectric power, and transport for millennia. Yet an estimated 2.8 million dams now divide up rivers world-wide, threatening healthy river ecosystems and reducing biodiversity in stream systems, in addition to impacts on inland fisheries that supply protein to 158 million people worldwide. Now, the first global assessment of free-flowing rivers has just been published in the journal Nature. 

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Greater compliance with regulations is possible with fishery cooperatives

Fishery cooperatives are groups of harvesters that band together to jointly fish a pooled quota. They can be set up in a variety of ways, but generally are governed by agreements among members, as well as agreements with regulators that affect all members of the cooperative. One form this may take is to have the participants be “jointly and severally liable” for staying within the catch quota limits for that cooperative; in other words, the regulator can halt the fishing of all members within a cooperative if the catches for that cooperative exceed quota limits, even if the overage was the fault of just a single member. 

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