National Research Council AYK Salmon Study

National Research Council Salmon Study Developing A Research And Restoration Plan For Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon 

This 208 page report is available for purchase from The National Academies Press (Published 2004).

This report, prepared at the request of the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim Sustainable Salmon Initiative (AYK SSI), provided critical recommendations and guidance to assist the AYK SSI in their development of a long-range, high quality Research and Restoration Plan for the region. In this report, the NRC Committee recommended essential components for the research and restoration plan, identified frameworks for understanding salmon ecosystems, and proposed important research themes and questions that scientists should strive to answer.

The AYK SSI, a collaborative effort among eight partner institutions, was created through a congressional appropriation in 2002. This partnership includes the Tanana Chiefs Conference, Kawerak, Inc., the Association of Village Council Presidents, Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, National Marine Fisheries Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, plus other ex-officio partners such as Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Association, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service.

The purpose of the AYK SSI is to collaboratively develop & implement a comprehensive research plan to understand the causes of the declines and recoveries of AYK salmon. Congress, through the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, appropriated additional funds in federal fiscal years 2003 and 2004 to support this cooperative research initiative. In order to ensure that funds are spent wisely, a comprehensive Restoration and Research Plan was developed for the AYK region.

In August 2003, a thirteen member committee of experts was appointed by the National Research Council to assist the AYK SSI in developing this salmon research plan. Committee members brought expertise in a broad array of fields including: physical and biological oceanography, fisheries biology, aquatic ecology, biological modeling and population dynamics, anthropology, traditional ecological knowledge and research planning. Over half of the experts appointed to the committee possessed extensive direct experience with Alaska fisheries and research issues. Between September of 2003 and March of 2004, the Committee expanded their direct experience and knowledge of salmon issues by attending a series of six site visits in communities across the AYK region.

Drawing on these NRC report recommendations, the AYK Scientific Technical Committee wrote a draft AYK Research and Restoration Plan. The final task of the NRC Committee was to provide an analysis and technical review of this draft salmon science plan.

The National Research Council is part of the National Academies, which also comprise the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology and health policy advice under a congressional charter. The study was funded through federal Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Program funds, a portion of which was appropriated to the State of Alaska and administered by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.