Fish Radio

March 6, 2014

Juneau wants more AK researchers based in AK

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Juneau aims to bring more Alaska fish science jobs back to Alaska.  More after this —

Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle

Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle

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Researchers at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center are tops at the work they do – the Center is the research arm of NOAA Fisheries. Their science forms the basis for setting Alaska fish quotas,  running observer programs, tightening bycatch limits, to name a few. But … the Alaska Fisheries Science Center is located in Seattle. Juneau Mayor Merrill Sanford wants bring those science jobs closer to the resources they study.

 There are other places in Southeast where some of these jobs could go, and there’s Kodiak which has a big fishing industry where some of the jobs could go.  We want to look at all of that.

Mayor Sanford has created a task force to learn how those science jobs might be brought back to Alaska. Attracting more federal jobs to Juneau is an Assembly priority, as well as lab techs, and research vessels

If we could move even a few or some to our own research centers in our own fisheries areas, I think it would be a big advantage to us.

NOAA Fisheries has fewer than 200 researchers in Alaska, mostly in Juneau. The Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle lists over 400 on the job. That’s a long commute to and from the fishing grounds.

So how did the Center end up there in the first place? Julie Speegle is NOAA spokeswoman in Juneau –

  That is where the geographical distribution of the labor force developed around the time of statehood. And it’s mostly just been maintained there. 

The  Assembly task force will reveal its findings in six months.

Thanks to the assist from KTOO in Juneau.


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