Jason Ching is at it again. He has put together a new short film showcasing the salmon research done in Bristol Bay. Fantastic Bristol Bay imagery and information about the salmon research programs.
From the filmmaker:
The Alaska Salmon Program is the oldest continuously running salmon research program in the world. Based out of the University of Washington, the program was established to investigate factors influencing salmon production during a declining salmon fishery in Bristol Bay, Alaska in the mid-1940s. The program strives to understand the ecology and behavior of salmon in relation to environmental changes through long-term research and implementation of new ideas and techniques.
This video highlights a small part of the core research conducted by the Alaska Salmon Program, and celebrates the hardworking researchers that have contributed to the program's success.
Ryan Peterson and Salmon Beyond Borders have cooperated in producing a new short film showcasing the downstream Alaska problems associated with new mines being approved and developed across the border in British Columbia. It's a similar story - big money, big industry, and the relentless quest of man to exploit our natural environment for short-term gains.
From the filmmaker:
An open-pit mining boom is underway in northern British Columbia, Canada. The massive size and location of the mines--at the headwaters of major salmon rivers that flow across the border into Alaska--has Alaskans concerned over pollution risks posed to their multi-billion dollar fishing and tourism industries. These concerns were heightened with the Aug 4, 2014 catastrophic tailings dam failure at nearby Mt. Polley Mine in B.C.'s Fraser River watershed.
Large Group of Humpback Whales Feeding in the Pristine Waters of Alaska. Aerial Drone Footage from Seagulls Point of View.
From Wikipedia: The humpback whale's most inventive technique is known as bubble net feeding; a group of whales swims in a shrinking circle blowing bubbles below a school of prey. The shrinking ring of bubbles encircles the school and confines it in an ever-smaller cylinder. This ring can begin at up to 30 metres (98 ft) in diameter and involve the cooperation of a dozen animals. Using a crittercam attached to a whale's back, researchers found that some whales blow the bubbles, some dive deeper to drive fish toward the surface, and others herd prey into the net by vocalizing. The whales then suddenly swim upward through the "net", mouths agape, swallowing thousands of fish in one gulp. Plated grooves in the whale's mouth allow the creature to easily drain all the water initially taken in.
Last year, Jason Ching produced the short film showcasing the research of an Alaska Salmon Program. Watch it here. It was incredible. Some of the best salmon, wildlife, and landscape videography we'd ever seen. Fast forward 1 year.
Today, Jason has yet another beautiful Alaska video reel, focusing on the landscape and salmon of Lake Aleknagik in the Wood River System and Iliamna Lake. There are some absolutely fabulous aurora, aerial, and underwater shots in this short film.
From the Filmmaker:
This video highlights the scenery of Iliamna Lake and Lake Aleknagik in Southwest Alaska. These two watersheds provide spawning habitat for some of the largest returns of wild sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay, and also serve as important habitat for the development and growth of salmon in their early stages of life. As a keystone species in Bristol Bay, sockeye salmon are of large economic importance to the commercial fishing industry and local lodge outfits, they serve as an important food source for local communities, and also support the diverse and amazing ecosystems within these watersheds.
When fishing guide/filmmaker Mark Titus learns why wild salmon populations plummeted in his native Pacific Northwest, he embarks on a journey to discover where the fish have gone and what might bring them back. Along the way, Titus unravels a trail of human hubris, historical amnesia and potential tragedy looming in Alaska – all conspiring to end the most sustainable wild food left on the planet.
By Juliet Eilperin, Updated: February 28 at 10:48 am
The Environmental Protection Agency will announce Friday it will examine whether to block a massive gold and copper mine proposed in Alaska, according to people familiar with the issue -- a major win for environmentalists, native tribes and commercial fishing companies that have been seeking to kill the project for more than three years.
While the announcement does not mean the Obama administration has made a final decision to prohibit Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., a Canadian-based firm, from starting construction on the Pebble Mine project, it will delay it for months and make it much harder for the controversial project to move ahead at all.
The Bristol Bay River Academy is now planning for its sixth year. The mission of the Academy is to impart to the youth of Bristol Bay - the joy of fly fishing, the practices of a professional fishing guide, the skills needed to work at a fishing lodge, an appreciation of the habitat complexity of the Bristol Bay salmon ecosystem and an understanding of the conservation tools available to protect that ecosystem. The annual Academy accepts 12 to 15 participants.
How You Can help - Sponsor a Participant
There is no charge to the young people accepted into the Academy. There is no charge for the assistance we provide to graduates of the Academy who want to pursue opportunities to work in conservation or the recreational fishing community of Bristol Bay. We can do this because of the the generous support of many individuals, businesses and organizations. A simple way to help is to sponsor an academy participant for $250. That donation helps cover the cost of air transportation for a participant from his or her village to the lodge hosting the academy.
You can donate online directly here --------------> DONATE
If you are an Alaskan resident you can provide a donation to the Academy by designating the Bristol Bay Heritage Land Trust for a portion of your Permanent Fund Dividend under the Pick, Click, Give program.
If you are interested in helping in other ways email us.
Help us create opportunities for the next generation of Bristol Bay residents that are linked to healthy fish habitat.
Oh no, not another post on C&R tips and techniques! I know, I know, everyone knows about these bullet points. But in my experience, many of these best practices for catch-and-release are ignored during the excitement of the moment. It's just natural - I'm guilty of some slip ups also. Fish are brought in and banged against rocks. Big rainbows are held out of the water for 5 minute photo sessions. Hasty hook removal rips cartlidge on small fish. A fat char's guts are squeezed and compromised for the one-hander shot. There's no time to rescucitate because there are so many more fish to catch - how about just under hand tossing it into the fast current.
The truth is, if we're goint to practice successful C&R, we need to follow the commandments - religiously. For most of us, that means slowing down, and doing the things that we already know about taking good care of fish. Don't get in a hurry. The photos can wait. The long cast, the secret spot, the big fish, and the hero photos mean nothing without the resource. Here are a few bullet point reminders:
Pinch the barb on your hook flat so it's easily removed.
Choose your tackle wisely, plan ahead.
Land the fish as quickly and carefully as possible to avoid extreme exhaustion and injury near shore/boat.
Keep the fish in the water and resuscitate it. Handle the fish gently with wet hands or moist gloves.
If you must net it, use a release net made of soft knotless fabric and keep the fish under water in the net. Don't lift the fish up in the air or squeeze it. Minimize time out of the water.
Don't sacrifice the fish for the photo. Never squeeze your fish. Keep fingers away from gills and eyes. Minimize handling.
If you plan to keep a fish or two for the table, let the hook-up decide what you kill. Many people who claim to practice catch and release are in fact doing what commercial fishermen call "high-grading". They are sorting out the smaller fish, looking for the bigger fish. If a trophy size fish is hooked in the lip for an easy release – let it go. If you catch a smaller fish that is bleeding – keep it.
Locate the hook, then decide how to approach it. Back the hook out with hemostats or other hook removal tool.
Fish responsibly. Alter your method or your gear to minimize hooking mortality. That may mean going to circle hooks or setting the hook a little sooner. Apply deeply hooked fish to your bag limit and release the fish with good survivable hookup. If we are responsible in our approach today, it will mean more fish in the future for everyone.
What strikes most visitors to Alaska is the sheer scale of things (Sorry, Texas eat your heart out). The mountain ranges go on forever, appearing to be spilling over the edge of the Earth. The rivers and tributaries meander across prehistoric landscapes, colliding with giant glacier ice fields that mimic something from a science fiction movie . Moose, bears, dahl sheep, and other large mammals dominate the state's population, and meander without notice of civilization. Let's face it, it's hard to look past the enormity of Alaska. It drives home a brand of humility that is difficult to find in the human-centric world of smart phones and rush hour.
Occasionally (actually quite often), I thumb through our large gallery of Alaska photos from many different areas of the state. In those images, I find examples of the more subtle beauties of Alaska. A close up of the scales on a big Coho Salmon or a grizzly track impressed sharply into a river bank. It is quite amazing to encounter these tiny miracles and glimpses of infinity at the smallest micro scale. One moment you are soaking in the grandeur of an Alaska sunset, the next you are looking at the intricacy of bear scat. There is beauty at every scale in The Last Frontier.