ADF&G Releases Climate Change Strategy


Jacob Resneck/KMXT

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game released its climate change strategy Tuesday. The document comes from the subcabinet created in 2007 by Governor Sarah Palin to study effects of climate change on state resources. KMXT’s Jacob Resneck reports.Download the full document (PDF) here.

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The climate strategy document lays out, in broad strokes, what climatologists and biologists have been saying for years. That commercial and subsistence fisheries and wildlife stocks will be strongly affected by a climactic shift that’s already warming the globe, especially Polar Regions. The document predicts that the timing of fish runs and distribution of species could change requiring the agency to rework its regulations as well as its approach to management and conservation.

Doug Vincent-Lang is a special assistant to the Fish and Game commissioner.


The 19-page strategy paper offers little in the way of specifics. About half of the document’s surface is color photos. But Vincent-Lang says the document is an important first step for the agency to officially recognize its challenges and the need for new research.


Environmental advocates applaud this first step but are generally underwhelmed by its vagueness.

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That’s Sue Mauger, a fisheries scientist with Cook Inletkeeper, a not-for-profit group in Homer. She’s been monitoring the effects of climate change on salmon streams around Cook Inlet.

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She says Fish and Game is occupied managing specific ecosystems but historically fails to see the big picture when dealing with something as complex as climate change.


To critics who say the document is light weight, Vincent-Lang says the strategy is just the first step and more specific plans will follow.


Fish and Game’s climate strategy document is only one of several that are expected to come out of the governor’s subcabinet. Vincent-Lang said a master document produced by the subcabinet that will look at the state as a whole would be forthcoming next year or the year after.

I’m Jacob Resneck


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