Alaska Fisheries Science Center gains more harvester observers

Researchers trying to learn more about the impact of climate change on oceans and fisheries are seeing increasing enthusiasm in participation from seafood harvesters with mutual concerns.

Partners in the Alaska Skipper Science Program – now in its third year – say 180 fishermen signed up in 2022, nearly double the number participating in 2021, and they are optimistic about more harvesters signing up in 2023. The next phase will be to match fishermen in specific regions and fisheries with scientists and managers in those areas to collect data points that support specific projects and research needs, said Lindsey Bloom, manager of the Salmon Habitat Information Program for SalmonState.

One of their most important tools is a smartphone app that allows fishermen to log observations in real-time from the fishing grounds, with harvesters at sea cataloging conditions.

The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island Tribal Government’s Ecosystem Conservation Office and SalmonState’s Salmon Habitat Information Program (SHIP) are working with the commercial fishing industry and ocean research partners to collect ecological observations that seafood harvests can provide about changes in fisheries and ocean conditions.

Their latest report, released in February, notes that 19 Alaska-based fishing trade organizations supported and endorsed the program last year and that 80 data entries were completed in the SkipperScience app by participants on fishing grounds. 

The Skipper Science Partnership program also partnered with NOAA scientists on a targeted research pilot project that focused on collecting cod stomach contents. They plan to continue working with NOAA to identify more specific research projects this year.


Lindsay Bloom said the amount of participation and interest from the fishing industry, commercial fishing groups and fishermen was very positive.

“We were blown away by the amount of organizations and associations willing to endorse and support this project,” Bloom said.

Fishermen are welcome to learn more about the program and sign up online to participate at