gulf of alaska

Courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks

Over the last year, warm water temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska, infamously known as the blob, have dissipated. Warmer water temps are thought to have a hand in massive bird die-offs and a decline in Pacific cod stocks. Now that the three-year period of summer-like marine conditions is over, scientists and fishery managers are eager to assess the full impact of the blob.

Renee Gross, KBBI News

Homer residents evacuated to higher ground early Tuesday morning after the National Weather Service’s Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer issued a tsunami warning for the Gulf of Alaska. The Homer Spit and other low-lying areas were evacuated, but Homer didn’t experience a wave, and no major damage was reported.

City officials say it was a good experience for residents and emergency responders.

Courtesy of Davin Holen.

Last week the Trump administration proposed to drastically increase the amount of Alaska waters open for oil and gas leasing. Along with keeping Cook Inlet open, it would also make areas near Kodiak and the Gulf of Alaska available for drilling, both of which are currently closed. Yet, it’s unclear if companies will be interested in drilling there even if the plan is approved. Still, the move worries local environmentalists and fishermen.

Photo courtesy of Hannah Heimbuch

New regulations on the Gulf of Alaska halibut charter industry could reduce the number of days operators are able to spend on the water.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which regulates the charter industry in the Gulf and Southeast Alaska, unanimously approved shutting down fishing on seven Tuesdays between June 19 and Aug. 21 at its annual meeting Thursday.

Courtesy of Andrew McDonnell

Scientists have been trying to find ways to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions for decades, but the scientific community has also been studying natural ways the earth stores carbon, preventing it from being released into the atmosphere. The largest natural storage container for carbon is the ocean, and new details are emerging on how waters near the equator are sending carbon-rich material into the deep ocean and diverting it from the atmosphere.

Scientists have known for some time that the ocean stores a lot of carbon, essentially acting as the world’s thermostat.

Creative Commons photo by Ed Bierman

The International Pacific Halibut Commission, which regulates halibut fisheries in U.S. and Canadian waters, is set to take a fresh look at the minimum size limit for commercial fisheries during its meeting cycle this winter. The current limit allows commercial fishermen to retain fish larger than 32 inches, but the size of mature halibut has been shrinking over the years, which has some wondering whether the limit should be reduced or removed altogether.

Since the 1990s the size of mature halibut has been falling.

(Creative Commons photo by Chis Michel)

The battle between killer whales and longline fishermen has been going on for decades in the Bering Sea. Pods of whales will follow boats and pick fish off their lines as they pull them in. Some commercial fishermen say the whales have become so persistent, they have changed fishing grounds to avoid them, but regulators may have a solution.