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Dean's monthly update

July 2006

The July issue of “Fisheries” from the American Fisheries Society has an update on actions by Congress to reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Management and Marine Live Enhancement Act (H.R. 5018).  The article ends by commenting that H.R. 5018 “is modeled after the management framework of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which is widely cited as the best in the nation.”  The Science and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Council is chaired by Gordon Kruse.  Terry Quinn is also a member.  As of July 1, we have three members of the SSC as Keith Criddle joins the SFOS faculty as the Ted Stevens Distinguished Professor of Marine Policy.

Keith returns to UAF after eight years at Utah State University where he chaired the Department of Economics.  He will work from the SFOS Juneau Center where he will teach and conduct research on the management of fisheries in the North Pacific Ocean.  His position is supported from an endowment set up by the Pollock Conservation Cooperative (PCC) companies:  Alaska Ocean Seafoods, American Seafoods Company, LLC, Arctic Storm, Inc., Glacier Fish Company, Highland Light Seafoods, Starbound, LLC, and Trident Seafoods Corporation.

On July 2, SFOS hosted a community dinner in Seward to build support for our programs there.  Over 100 people attended, many to wish Tom Smith well on his retirement from the UAF Seward Marine Center (still known as IMS in Seward).  Tom spent 20 minutes “roasting” his former colleagues.  SFOS presented Tom a framed poster with pictures of the SMC, the Alpha Helix and other vessels.  Mike Castellini and I attended from Fairbanks.  Thanks to Nici Murawsky, Linda Lasota, and Jennifer Elhard for arranging a spectacular evening.

Chancellor Steve Jones and Vice Chancellor Buck Sharpton joined us in Anchorage on July 6 for a meeting with the Ed Rasmuson (Board Chair) and Diane Kaplan (President) of the Rasmuson Foundation to discuss our request for SFOS support.  Bill Smoker, Gordon Kruse and I represented SFOS and School of Management Associate Dean Mark Herrmann also participated.  We spent the afternoon discussing our plan to increase participation in our undergraduate fisheries program and how to create a B.A. in fisheries to meet additional state educational needs.  Paula Cullenberg, Bill and I will spend the next few months finalizing a proposal to the foundation.

On July 8, I attended a memorial service for John Doyle in Anchorage.  As the Marine Advisory Program (MAP) Leader from the mid-60s through 1987, John hired the first marine extension agents in Alaska.  He passed away April 8th after a long illness.  John kept in touch with many MAP agents after his retirement and often came to my office to tell me what I should be doing as Dean.  Several years ago, he established the Kathryn (K) E. Doyle Scholarship in his wife’s honor for female students studying science at UAF.

While July may be a slow month in some places, it seems to be reporting time at UAF.  In the middle two weeks of July we submitted the annual Performance Based Budgeting (PBB) report, the SFOS Enrollment Management Plan (EMP), the FY08 Budget Request, and the SFOS Compact Plan (CP) Executive Summary.  Many thanks to Mike Castellini (PBB), Katie Murra (EMP), and Sharice Walker (CP) for their efforts to complete these reports on schedule.  We received the following message about our FY08 request for new funding:  “Coming out of Cabinet yesterday, the group decided to bump the SFOS request to $1M rather than just the $500K and move it up on the priority list to number 3.”  This was great news.  It means that UAF will request $1.0M in new funding for SFOS from the Alaska Legislature when they meet in January 2007.  Let’s hope the legislature is good to the university next year.

I spent the week of July 16-23 in Seattle, Anchorage, and Seward.  On July 17 and 18, I attended a meeting of the Bering Sea Interagency Working Group at NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) in Seattle.  IMS Director Terry Whitledge also attended along with Assistant Professor Rolf Gradinger.  The purpose of the meeting was to understand how the current and planned research efforts in the Bering Sea can be coordinated.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding the Bering Ecosystem Study (BEST) and the North Pacific Research Board (NPRB) is about to fund their Bering Sea Integrated Ecosystem Program (BSIERP).  While SFOS did not receive funding from the first BEST proposal submissions, we plan to play a major role in the BSIERP.  NSF BEST Program Manager Bill Wiseman will visit Fairbanks on August 21.

While in Seattle on July 19, I visited with representatives of the fishing industry including some of the PCC companies that support our research.  My visits included:

In Anchorage on July 20, I met with Clarence Pautzke, Executive Director of the North Pacific Research Board and Molly McCammon, Executive Director of the Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS).  We discussed plans by UAF to bring the National Ocean Sciences Bowl finals to Alaska in April 2008.  Twenty-five regional teams would compete for the national title in Seward if our proposal is successful.  I asked both NRPB and AOOS to help provide part of the $250,000 that will be needed to host the national competition.

The final leg of the trip took me to Seward (July 20-21) for the annual meeting of the Board of Directors of the Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC).  This visit gave me the opportunity to meet with Shannon Atkinson and our UAF research faculty in Seward to discuss how to improve our support of their research and teaching activities.

In between these trips, I met with the four candidates for our new fisheries faculty position.  The new faculty member will also serve as the Coordinator of our undergraduate fisheries program.  Mike Castellini (Chair) and the search committee have done a great job and I hope to be able to announce a successful conclusion to this search in my next report.