Fall 2012 Subsistence Fishery Monitoring On The Colville River
In 2012, ABR worked with key fishery stakeholders in Nuiqsut, Alaska, to continue long-term monitoring of the Colville River subsistence fishery, which is conducted each fall after freeze-up in the Niġliq Channel of the Colville River. The 2012 subsistence fishery monitoring program is a continuation of long-term studies that have taken place annually since 1985 (no data were collected in 1999). Monitoring has been conducted by several contractors over that time period (MJM Research [1985–2005], LGL Alaska Research Associates ), and ABR [2007–present]) on behalf of ConocoPhillips Alaska, Inc. (CPAI) and its predecessors (see Daigneault and Reiser 2007 and Moulton et al. 2006). The monitoring program has historically focused primarily on the fall harvest of arctic cisco (Coregonus autumnalis; Qaaktaq, in Iñupiaq), which are a staple in the diet of Nuiqsut residents and traded widely with other northern Alaska communities. However, the program also attempts to quantify harvest of other subsistence species captured in the Qaaktaq fishery. The primary impetus for the monitoring program is concern that oil and gas exploration and development in the nearshore marine environment and, more recently, on the Colville River delta (henceforth the Colville delta) could adversely affect these anadromous or amphidromous fish. Furthermore, in recent years this monitoring program has continued as mandated under stipulations defined by the CD-4 development permit issued by the North Slope Borough (NSB04-117, 2004). The main goals of the monitoring program have been to obtain estimates of the total fishing effort and catch and more recently to monitor other environmental components of the fishery. ABR continues to implement the arctic cisco fall fishery monitoring program as conceived during a series of community meetings with fishery stakeholders in 2007 (Seigle et al. 2008a). The result of those stakeholder meetings was that 1) ABR worked with the community of Nuiqsut to formulate a plan for continuing long-term fishery monitoring each fall and, 2) ABR made a commitment to continue working with the community via interactions with a Qaaktaq Panel of expert fishers to ensure that community concerns are continually incorporated into the monitoring plan. This process has been successful to date, and subsequently the monitoring program has been working closely with fishers and other stakeholders to keep all parties abreast of developments in the fishery. As an integral part of the monitoring program, ABR has conducted numerous meetings with community members and a Qaaktaq Panel (composed of expert participants in the fishery) before, during, and after the fishing season, and has offered assistance to fishers on the ice whenever seeking interviews. The objectives of the monitoring program in 2012 were to: • Continue working with key stakeholders as per agreements made in 2007 (Seigle et al. 2008a, Appendix 1). • Monitor the harvest of arctic cisco throughout the fishing effort, using interviews of fishery participants. • Record the number of nets fishing at any given time and net dimensions and locations during the season. • Document the subsistence fishery harvest. • Collect age, length and weight information for a subsample of arctic cisco harvested. • Measure water salinity and quality (i.e., testing for metals and petroleum-based organic compounds) in primary fishing areas. • Compare the 2011 results with those of previous years for this program and other historical data. • Continue to raise awareness for, and maintain a high level of participation in, the Qaaktaq Panel meetings.
Data and Resources
Start Date: 2012/10/01
End Date: 2012/12/01