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Seminar Series


We look forward to seeing you at one of our IPHC seminars! Past and future seminars are listed below. Please stay tuned for upcoming events. To stay current on the Seminar Series subscribe to IPHC Media and News.

Seminar Series 2022 Flyer
IPHC Seminar Series Winter-Spring 2022 Flyer
14 Mar 2022
2022 Seminar Series


16 March 2022 – 11:00 am   
High-quality genomics toward improving fishery management of Greenland Halibut in the North Atlantic.
Anne-Laure Ferchaud, Normandeau E, Babin C, Audet C, Morgan J, Treble M, Walkusz W, Lambert Y & Bernatchez L. –  Département de Biologie, Institut de Biologie Intégrative et des Systèmes (IBIS), Université Laval, Québec
Abstract – The Greenland Halibut is one of the main demersal fish species commercially exploited in Eastern Canada, and accurate information on geographic population structure and local adaptation are thus required to contribute to maintain the long-term sustainability of this species. We de novo assembled the reference genome by combining long read sequencing technology with scaffolding, containing more than 95% of gene completeness and identified the 2 sex chromosomes and subsequently demonstrated the importance of considering sex-linked markers in such studies.  We then generated high-quality whole-genome libraries from 1297 Greenland Halibut sampled from 32 localities across the Northwest Atlantic (from Arctic Canadian and Greenlandic coasts to the Gulf of St Lawrence). Our analysis resolution allowed identifying population genetic structure throughout the species’ range and notably revealing the high connectivity between Canadian and Greenland coasts and the specificity of Gulf of St Lawrence. We identified genomic regions associated with environmental variables and implied in high differentiation between the Gulf of St Lawrence and the rest of the Atlantic. Altogether, our results revealed a pattern of spatial selection in a marine fish species with high dispersal potential, and will help supporting the management of this important exploited species.
30 March 2022 – 11:00 am  
Improved synthesis of movement and diet:  analyzing tags, surveys, fishery CPUE, stomach content, and fatty acids
Jim Thorson, NOAA-NWFSC  
Abstract – Global change is causing rapid shifts in stock distribution and productivity, with impacts on place-based stakeholder groups. While management procedures can be robust to this variability, stakeholder confidence in management for high-profile stocks still requires attributing changes to specific mechanisms. Changes can sometimes be attributed to shifts in habitat preference or diet, but the common statistical tools for analyzing stomach contents (compositional analysis) and movement (state-space track reconstruction) may be daunting for a population or community ecologist to apply, critically review, or communicate. I discuss two conceptually simple, theoretically grounded, and computationally feasible approaches that bridge this gap. Specifically, stomach-content analysis can be as simple as a generalized linear model, while habitat preference and search behaviors can be fitted as a Continuous time Markov Chain (CTMC) using standard model-fitting tools. I demonstrate these techniques using case studies involve sea birds, wolf scat, and various fish tagging and survey programs.
25 May 2022 – 11:00 am  
Non-market Valuation and Recreational Fishing:  The What, Why, and How  
Dan K. Lew, NOAA-AFSC  
Abstract – Economic values of fishery resources are often desired by analysts and decision-makers to better inform fishery management decisions.  Economic value information can help in the evaluation of allocation decisions and fishing regulation changes, and generally provides a means for understanding trade-offs among activities.  While economic values associated with commercial fishing can frequently be estimated by examining market behavior (e.g., seafood markets, quota markets), recreational fishing values must be estimated using non-market valuation techniques given the general absence of explicit markets that directly reveal the value of recreational activities.  Non-market valuation approaches fall into two main types:  revealed preference (RP) methods that use information on observed behavior to infer underlying values and stated preference (SP) methods that use information from carefully worded questions in surveys or interviews that reveal the values of interest.  In this talk, I describe the application of RP and SP methods to value recreational fishing and provide some examples related to saltwater recreational fishing in Alaska and elsewhere.  I also identify some limitations, but also opportunities, for using these approaches in relation to Alaska fisheries management and in broader ecosystem-based management contexts.  
8 June 2022 – 11:00 am  
Conservation engineering approaches for supporting fisheries sustainability in Alaska
Dr. Noëlle Yochum, Conservation Engineering- MACE/RACE, Alaska Fisheries Science Center- NOAA Fisheries, Seattle, WA
Abstract – Conservation engineering provides a platform for collaborations with the fishing industry focused on evaluating fishing gear performance through innovative research on fish behaviour and biology, gear design, and fishing technology. This research supports fisheries sustainability through the mitigation of bycatch, bycatch mortality, and habitat impacts. In Alaska, the Conservation Engineering group (CE) in the Midwater Assessment and Conservation Engineering Program (Alaska Fisheries Science Center) has been conducting bycatch mitigation research in multiple fisheries. This talk will highlight CE research on Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) bycatch in the Alaska trawl fishery for walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus). This includes the development and evaluation of bycatch reduction devices that provide an opportunity for salmon to escape from the trawl and the use of artificial light to affect salmon behaviour. Information will also be presented on new technological approaches for addressing bycatch.  
21 April 2021 – 11:00 am  
Gear modifications in groundfish bottom trawl and longline fisheries to optimize species selectivity
Dr. Mark Lomeli, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, Newport, OR
Abstract – The U.S. West Coast groundfish bottom trawl fishery contributes substantially to the wide variety of high-quality fishes available to regional and global markets, and the overall economic value of commercial fisheries to the region. However, bycatch of Pacific halibut can impact some fishers’ ability to efficiently harvest their quota shares of groundfishes as relatively limited bycatch quota is available to the fishery. As the Pacific halibut stock is projected to decrease between 2021 and 2023, bycatch caps are unlikely to rise above current levels, and directed mortality limits are likely to decrease. Thus, developing techniques that can reduce adverse interactions between bottom trawl gear and Pacific halibut would positively impact the West Coast groundfish fishery and the directed Pacific halibut fisheries (commercial and recreational). In this presentation, gear selectivity studies designed to reduce Pacific halibut bycatch in the West Coast groundfish bottom trawl fishery will be presented. Lastly, potential research examining how modified circle hooks with an appendage could potentially reduce the rate of yelloweye rockfish bycatch in the directed Pacific halibut longline fishery will be discussed.
17 February 2021 – 11:00 am  
Perspectives of depredation from fishermen, scientists, and whales
Lauren Wild, University of Alaska Southeast, Sitka Campus, Sitka, AK
Abstract – Sperm whales remove fish from commercial fishing gear worldwide. In the Gulf of Alaska, they are targeting sablefish caught on commercial longline fishing vessels. The Southeast Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance Project (SEASWAP) was formed in 2003 by fishermen and scientists to study this behavior, better understand the interaction, and work collaboratively to minimize encounters. This talk will discuss the evolution of research and findings from SEASWAP, with a focus on fishermen guided research questions, scientific findings, and attempts of collaborators to “think like a sperm whale” in order to create effective deterrent options. Highlights of these collaborative efforts include increased knowledge of the population of sperm whales in the Gulf of Alaska, a better understanding of whale behavior, and testing of deterrent devices that could reduce whale-vessel interactions, such as an acoustic decoy and towed arrays. Scientists with SEASWAP have guided research using animal borne tags to explore both fine-scale and broad-scale movement of whales, attaching acoustic and video equipment directly to fishing gear to observe and track whales, and most recently analyzing diet of sperm whales in the region through stable isotope analysis. This work continues to provide incredible knowledge of sperm whales and depredation behavior to scientists and industry members alike, while often inspiring more questions than answers along the way.
10 February 2021 – 11:00 am  
Ageing fish at the speed of light using Fourier transform-near infrared spectra of otoliths
Dr. Tom Helser, Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management Division, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, Seattle, WA
Abstract – Traditional methods to estimate the fish age, which have not fundamentally changed in over a century, rely on microscopic counting of otolith annuli preceded by various preparation techniques including embedding, burning, sawing or sectioning. These methods are expensive, labor intensive and inherently subjective among individual analysts, making repeatability and precision of age estimates a challenge. As part of a NOAA funded 5-year strategic initiative, we investigated the use of Fourier transform near Infrared spectroscopy (FT-NIRS), which measures energy absorbance signatures in the molecular structure of otoliths, and partial least squares regression to rapidly estimate fish age. Among the case studies to be illustrated, FT-NIR spectra of EBS walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogramma) otoliths explained 90% – 95% of the variation in traditional age estimates, predicted fish age within ± 1.0 year 90% of the time, achieved better precision and less bias, and at nearly 10x the rate compared to traditional ageing methods. We are also exploring the use of deep learning and FT-NIRS. Similar to convolutional neural networks (CNN) for image recognition we applied this interconnected node architecture to spectral vibrational frequencies in the range of 8,000 to 12,500 cm-1 as well as other fish and otolith attributes. Finally, several examples our research will illustrate how this innovative technology using FT-NIRS have applicability to fish tissues, other than otoliths, to rapidly estimate important life history attributes such as reproductive status from ovaries and energy density from muscle or liver.
9 December 2020 – 11:00 am
Integrating adaptive genetic variation into fisheries management: An overview of the genomics program at NOAA AFSC
Dr. Wes Larson, Genetics Program, Manager; Auke Bay Laboratories, Alaska Fisheries Science Center-NOAA, Juneau, AK
Abstract – Genetic analysis represents a powerful tool for informing resource management and studying adaptation in wild populations. For example, genetic tools can be used to delineate conservation units and identify genes that are important for local adaptation. In this talk, I will provide an overview of some of the ways that I have used genomics to inform fisheries management and study local adaptation. These examples include improving resolution of stock structure in Chinook salmon, investigating the genetic basis of phenotypic differentiation in sockeye salmon, and using eDNA to investigate fish community composition in inland lakes. I will also discuss future plans for genomic work at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and how this work may be complementary to ongoing and future research at the IPHC.
30 July 2019 – 11:00 am
Improvements in fisheries management can offset many effects of climate changeiphc-pdf-icon.pngyoutube.png
Merrick Burden, Director, Resilient Fisheries at the Environmental Defense Fund
Abstract – Climate change is already altering the distribution and productivity of fish stocks around the world. This is posing challenges to fishery managers and stakeholders, and creating difficulties in maintaining conservation targets while generating desired social and economic outcomes from associated fisheries. While much of the available research points to changes in the total potential yield of fish stocks, what is often missing from discussions of climate change effects on fisheries is the impact of the human response. More specifically, can society make fisheries resilient to climate effects and adapt our management of them so that we continue to derive the social, economic, and food production outcomes we desire? Our recently released research suggests that the answer to this question may be “yes”. Provided global society can keep greenhouse gas emissions to within targets set by the Paris accord, it appears that we can manage fisheries in ways that can slightly improve food production, employment, and economic outcomes even in the face of climate change. Part of the equation is simply a matter of putting in place good fishery management where it is lacking today. However, much of it is also dependent on societies putting in place measures and practices that create socio-ecological resilience. In this two-part talk, I’ll cover 1) our recently released research that models future global fishery outcomes, and how those outcomes differ based on our response to managing fisheries in the face of climate change, and 2) our framework for building resilience to climate effects and what it may look like in practice.
19 June 2019 – 11:00 am
Detecting changes in somatic growth from observational data: it’s complicatediphc-pdf-icon.pngyoutube.png
Dr. Christine Stawitz, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Seattle, WA
Abstract – Understanding how climate affects fish life history processes helps us develop climate-ready fishery management tools. However, our largest data source, fishery-dependent and -independent data, is rarely collected with the intent to detect environmental signals on fish life history. Environmental effects on somatic growth may be detected from size-at-age data, but these data also integrate the effects of spatial and methodological changes in sampling over time. These sampling effects may obfuscate the “signal” of climate influences on growth that are shared across species within a large marine ecosystem. Here I will discuss how I have attempted to separate the life history “signal” from the sampling “noise”. I will first discuss a study conducted using state-space models to estimate time variation in size-at-age across multiple age classes of 30 marine groundfish species. In this analysis, we did not observe shared patterns in size-at-age across species within a large marine ecosystem. We hypothesized this could be because of small-scale spatial differences in growth. We next reexamined a subset of these data from the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands ecosystem using spatio-temporal models in VAST to determine if accounting for spatial covariation increased our ability to detect shared temporal trends across species.
12 June 2019 – 11:00 am
Using chemical tracers to understand fish movement and habitat useiphc-pdf-icon.pngyoutube.png
Dr. Paul Chittaro, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Seattle, WA
Abstract – Many species take part in annual or seasonal migrations that are thought to optimize fitness and which are prompted by food and/or reproductive requirements. Understanding these migrations, including when they occur and which habitats are used, is important for effective population management and thus species sustainability. Fortunately, for those studying fish there are several ways to track the movement of individuals, most of which can be categorized as either artificial (organisms are tagged by the researcher) or natural tags (organisms are tagged via natural variation in gene frequencies or chemical differences in the environment). In this presentation, I will discuss three projects that used naturally-derived trace element and stable isotopes measured in otoliths and muscle to assess movement and habitat use. Specifically, we used these tools to identify rearing habitats and estimate estuarine somatic growth of Chinook salmon, to understand variability in somatic growth and the extent to which individuals reside in the same environment, and to quantify the extent to which rockfish and other species utilize kelp and eelgrass.
13 May 2019 – 11:00 am
Next generation sequence data for next generation research at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center; tales of hot walleye pollock, wandering Pacific cod, and faithful Alaska skatesiphc-pdf-icon.pngyoutube.png
Dr. Ingrid Spies, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Seattle, WA
Abstract – Next generation sequence data has recently been used to answer three complex questions about Alaska groundfish. 1. The ecosystem of the Bering Sea has been changing along with the climate, moving from an arctic to a subarctic system. We examined northward movement in Pacific cod in the northern Bering Sea to assess whether recent northward shifts in distribution resulted from migration from another stock in the eastern Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska, or Aleutian Islands. Our results indicate escalating northward movement of the large eastern Bering Sea stock of Pacific cod. 2. We performed a series of experiments to examine how and whether walleye pollock may adapt to high temperatures in a single generation. Crosses were performed on mature pollock from Kodiak, AK and Puget Sound, WA to generate two family groups (one female and three males in each group). Fertilized eggs were reared to the larval stage in three temperatures, corresponding to a low, medium, and high temperature. Results indicate higher fitness in heterozygous individuals; a decrease in mean FIS as temperature increased. 3. The reproductive behavior of Alaska Skates is not fully understood, nor is the level of genetic connectivity among nursery areas. Genetic analysis of Alaska Skate embryos from nursery areas in the Bering Sea found evidence for genetic distinctiveness among some skate nursery areas, site fidelity, polygamous mating patterns, and a potential new cryptic species.
1 May 2019 – 11:00 am
Using Archaeological Data to Estimate a Pre-Industrial Pacific Halibut Size Baselineiphc-pdf-icon.pngyoutube.png
Jacob Salmen-Hartley, University of Victoria
Abstract – There is a rich and longstanding human tradition of fishing for halibut in the Northeast Pacific. Archaeological data suggest that Pacific Halibut have been caught by humans for at least 10,700 years, and their skeletal elements are frequently encountered in archaeological sites throughout the region. This largescale zooarchaeological ‘fisheries dependant’ dataset can provide biological information about halibut prior to industrial fisheries; however, archaeological halibut have never been investigated for this purpose. Using simple regression-based methodology we estimate the fork length of a sample of halibut from 9 different archaeological sites in British Columbia Canada and Washington State. We then compare estimated length frequencies with IPHC setline survey data. Comparison suggests notable differences between archaeological and industrially fished populations.
3 April 2019 – 11:00 am
Migrations of Pacific halibut: the importance of scale-dependent processes to IPHC researchiphc-pdf-icon.pngyoutube.png
Tim Loher, International Pacific Halibut Commission
Abstract – Along with its Atlantic congener, Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) represents the world’s largest flatfish, historically reaching lengths of nearly 3 m and weighing up to 350 kg. The species ranges from northern California northward into Norton Sound and the Gulf of Anadyr in the Bering Sea; westward along the Aleutian Ridge, eastern Kamchatka, and the Sea of Okhotsk; and then southward into the northern Sea of Japan. Since 1923, the stock in North American waters has been jointly managed by the United States and Canada, via the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC). Early Commission research focused heavily upon elucidating migration patterns and population structure, leading to the establishment of regulatory areas within which management is structured and prohibition of winter fisheries. More recently, the adoption of individual quota systems in Canada and Alaska have ushered in an area of relative market stability across a nine-month commercial fishing season, increasing the overall value of the landed catch. Still, decadal-scale fluctuations in stock abundance and recruitment strength serve to highlight gaps in our understanding of halibut movements and population function at numerous spatial and temporal scales: from diurnal to generational; from short-period forays conducted by individual fish to population-level dispersal across the entire geographic range. Over the last decade, we have endeavored to develop an ecological research program that uses multiple approaches including tagging, microchemical analyses, and genetic techniques to allow more accurately understand migration in the species and generate data relevant to its management. In this seminar, I will present an overview of recent approaches to connectivity research at the IPHC and some of those findings, focusing on issues of scale and providing examples of how the information gained might be applied to specific management concerns facing today’s fleetsustrially fished populations.
20 March 2019 – 11:00 am
Improving Handling and Survival of Bycatch in Pacific Salmon Purse Seine Fisheries: Lessons from Field Research and Interviews with Fishersiphc-pdf-icon.pngyoutube.png
Katrina Cook, InStream Fisheries Research
Abstract – There is a rich and longstanding human tradition of fishing for halibut in the Northeast Pacific. Archaeological data suggest that Pacific Halibut have been caught by humans for at least 10,700 years, and their skeletal elements are frequently encountered in archaeological sites throughout the region. This largescale zooarchaeological fisheries dependant dataset can provide biological information about halibut prior to industrial fisheries; however, archaeological halibut have never been investigated for this purpose. Using simple regression-based methodology we estimate the fork length of a sample of halibut from 9 different archaeological sites in British Columbia Canada and Washington State. We then compare estimated length frequencies with IPHC setline survey data. Comparison suggests notable differences between archaeological and industrially fished populations.
13 March 2019 – 11:00 am
Reproductive Life History of Sablefish in Coastal Washingtoniphc-pdf-icon.png 
Jose M. Guzman, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington
Abstract – Sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria), also known as black cod, is a marine groundfish species that supports valuable fisheries in the North Pacific Ocean. Limited information is available, however, about its reproductive biology. I will report on the recent characterization of the complete reproductive life histories of sablefish, including seasonal changes in gonadal development (macroscopic and histological), plasma sex steroid levels, gonadosomatic and hepatosomatic indices (GSI, and HSI), and condition factor (K) of female and male sablefish captured off the Washington coast. I will also discuss the utility of these measures as indicators of sexual maturity for fisheries stock assessments

17 MAY 2018 – 1:00 pm

Cheryl Barnes, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks iphc-pdf-icon.png
Assessing the potential for competition between Pacific halibut and Arrowtooth flounder in the Gulf of Alaska

10 MAY  2018 – 11:00 am

Yvonne deReyner , West Coast Regional Office, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Seattle, WA iphc-pdf-icon.png
Ecosystem-based fisheries management: making the transition from ideas to action on the U.S. West Coast

21 MARCH  2018 – 11:00 am

Peter Frey, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Seattle, WA iphc-pdf-icon.png
The West Coast Groundfish Bottom Trawl Survey: Design, data products, and things hopefully of interest to halibut people

15 MARCH  2018 – 11:00 am

Farron Wallace, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Seattle, WA iphc-pdf-icon.png
Great news: technology is finally at a point where we can build sophisticated machine learning applications that run on mass market devices. Challenges and opportunities for remote fisheries monitoring

11 JANUARY  2018 – 11:00 am

Joe Peterson, Makah Fisheries Management, Makah Tribe, Neah Bay, WA iphc-pdf-icon.png
Bycatch reduction in directed halibut fisheries with the Makah Tribe’s traditional halibut hook

11 DECEMBER 2017 – 11:00 am

Janet Duffy-Anderson, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Seattle, WA iphc-pdf-icon.png
Climate oscillations, the Cold Pool, and walleye pollock recruitment in the Bering Sea: lessons from recent years and the outlook for 2018

2 NOVEMBER 2017 – 11:00 am

Marc Mangel, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA iphc-pdf-icon.png
Doing Policy-Relevant Science; Understanding Policy-Relevant Science: The Essential Tension 

19 OCTOBER 2017 – 11:00 am

Brian Beckman, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Seattle, WA iphc-pdf-icon.png
Physiological insights into the marine ecology of Pacific Salmon: interactions among growth, oceanography and marine survival of coho salmon 

21 JUNE 2017- 11:00 am

Lorenz Hauser, School of Aquatic and Fishery Science, University of Washington, Seattle, WA iphc-pdf-icon.png
Which fish is which? Genetic stock identification in Pacific cod and herring

31 MAY 2017 – 2:00 pm

Elisabeth Figus, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, AK iphc-pdf-icon.png
Using local knowledge to inform management in the Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) fishery off Southeast Alaska

3 MAY – 11:00 am

Alan Haynie, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Seattle, WA iphc-pdf-icon.png
The Evolution of Bycatch Reduction Measures in Bering Sea Groundfish Fisheries

Melissa Head, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Seattle, WA iphc-pdf-icon.png
Assessing reproductive strategies in marine fishes: applications to management

19 APRIL 2017- 11:00 am

Cole Monnahan, School of Aquatic and Fishery Science, University of Washington, Seattle, WA iphc-pdf-icon.png
Revisiting the effect of hook spacing on halibut catch rates and the implications of catch per unit effort (CPUE) standardization in the central Gulf of Alaska

15 MARCH  2017- 11:00 am

Dan Drinan, School of Aquatic and Fishery Science, University of Washington, Seattle, WA iphc-pdf-icon.png
Population structure and sex determination in Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis)


Rick Goetz, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Manchester, WA iphc-pdf-icon.png
Deciphering the biology of sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria): Reproductive life history, population genetics and depth selection behavior of sablefish off the Washington coast

3 JANUARY 2017

Thomas Hurst, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, Newport, OR iphc-pdf-icon.png
Responses of Alaskan groundfishes to ocean acidification