A forest of trolling poles in Sitka's ANB harbor, July 2015. (Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)

Sitka’s ANB harbor, July 2015. (Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)

The Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association is hosting a fisherman’s expo in Sitka this Thursday and Friday. ALFA project coordinator Dan Falvey says the two-day event is product of last year’s success.

“We had a great turnout last fall when we had our first expo,” Falvey said. “We talked about fuel efficiency, and pot gear for sablefish boats, and how to use the latest bottom mapping software, so we thought we’d kick off the fishing season again this year with a fish expo, too.”

The first day of the expo will be at the Sitka Sound Science Center. It offers both beginner and advanced ocean mapping workshops, technical vessel support, and a session on financing your fishing business.

The second day, held at the University of Alaska Southeast, is all about sablefish, or black cod.

Falvey says the lead sablefish scientist from the National Marine Fisheries Service will present on changes made to the stock assessment and what some of the future recruitment projections look like.

“One of the interesting things [the NMFS] does is several surveys to try and get an idea on how strong the next incoming wave of sablefish will be,” Falvey said. “It’s always good for fishermen to hear what it looks like four or five years down the road.”

And for a more local look at sablefish, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game scientist who sets quotas in Chatham Strait will present on the stock.

“And the quotas there have been declining for a bit,” Falvey explained. “It’s a really good chance for fishermen to exchange their views of what they’re seeing on the ground with the folks who set their quotas every year.”

The expo is part of ALFA’s outreach effort. Falvey said there’s a lot to gain by getting fishermen and scientists in the same room, and with technology changing so often, keeping fishermen up to date may make the expo a regular event.

“We’d like to do it at least once, sometimes maybe twice a year,” said Falvey.

“There are always new technologies and new issues facing our fleet. Fishing is really important to Sitka, so to the extent that we can keep our fishermen informed and have a chance for the folks that are setting the rules and setting the quotes to hear from the stakeholders what they’re seeing out there– I think that just helps everybody.”

The Fishermen’s Expo is free and open to the public, with the full schedule listed below.


Thursday, Mar. 2 at the Sitka Sound Science Center

9-10AM- simulated fire extinguishing training with AMSEA
10-12PM Beginner’s bathymetric workshop
Lunch (provided) – fire extinguishing simulation
12:30-2PM Financial skills for fishermen
2:15-4PM Advanced bathymetric workshop

Friday, Mar. 3 at UAS Sitka Room #229 (hosted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game)

12-5PM: Sablefish summit: status of the stock, state and federal waters; updates on the Southeast Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance Project(light refreshments provided)
Introduction – Andrew Olson (ADF&G)
NSEI fishery and survey data review– Ben Williams (ADF&G)
NSEI age structured assessment model– Ben Williams (ADF&G)
Outlook for 2017 NSEI sablefish quota/ NSEI decrement review – Andrew Olson (ADF&G)
NSEI future fieldwork/ Budget update – Andrew Olson (ADF&G)
Gulf of Alaska federal sablefish fishery stock status – Dana Hanselman/Chris Lunsford (NOAA)
Sperm whale tagging and depredation –Neve Baker (SEASWAP)