Herring are caught on the water, obviously, but they’re spotted from the air. In addition to the 48 seine boats and dozen or more tenders, the Sitka Sac Roe fishery is notable for the number of aircraft that participate. Tim DeGrazio works in Sitka’s local FAA flight service office. He says that the area over the fishery is uncontrolled air space, and that pilots are not required to obtain special clearances, unless there’s poor visibility. DeGrazio can remember only one occasion when his office has rerouted an inbound Alaska Airlines flight to avoid the herring fishery. This footage was shot by spotter Kevin Knox during the 2014 season opener on March 20, above Starrigavan Bay, looking north into Katlian Bay.
A species of fern common in Asia has been found in Southeast Alaska. But unlike invasive species, Wright’s filmy fern is an early colonizer. And figuring out how and when it got here is the next piece of the puzzle. more
Rob Harcourt is a professor of Marine Ecology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He's in Sitka as a Scientist in Residency Fellow (SIRF) at the Sitka Sound Science Center. Harcourt uses advanced tagging techniques to study ocean animals and their habitat -- everything from jellyfish to blue whales. He'll be speaking tonight (6PM Wed Apr 22, Alaska Raptor Rehabilitation Center, free) on climate change and penquins: "Will Happy Feet feel the heat?" With SSS research director Tory O'Connell. Downloadable audio. more