With its lush forests and lakes and mountains, Alaska is one of the best places to hunt.
But as we head back to the city of Anchorage, the wild canals of the state are still teeming with fish.
In the past decade, the population of alpine cod and the red fox has plummeted.
The cod are also disappearing from the water.
And as the salmon run low, the trout population has plummeted as well.
Alaskans are also losing their fish.
A new report shows that in the past 20 years, the salmon fishery in Alaska has declined by 30 per cent.
Alarm bells have been ringing for decades.
“I think the loss of fish is an enormous, huge, devastating thing that we’re going to have to deal with,” says Rob Tewksbury, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
But Tewmsbury says he and other biologists say the fish aren’t the problem.
Instead, the decline is happening as people move away from the wild.
“What we’re seeing is the result of people not wanting to live in those areas,” Tewbsies says.
“They’re not comfortable living there.
They’re moving away.”
Tewsbury says the population in Alaska is now at its lowest level in nearly 40 years.
As a result, the government has begun to set up a fish and game commission in Anchorage to advise the federal government on how to manage the wild fish fishery.
Tewsss says the commission has started a pilot program with a small fishing town, but says it’s a start.
“The more we can work with the communities to understand what they need to do, the better,” he says.
The commission also wants to establish a national fish and wildlife management plan that would lay out how the federal and state governments should manage fish and fish resources.
Tiwsbury estimates the commission could be operating with just 10 to 15 employees by next spring.
Tewsbury says it would be good to start getting this plan up and running.
But the commission is not just focused on fishing.
It’s also trying to establish what it calls a fish hatchery in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The refuge is a vast patch of land in the Yukon and Nunavut that contains some of the most pristine fish in the world.
There, scientists are studying the ability of the fish to adapt to harsh conditions, and how to make them more resilient to warming.
So far, the fish have shown that they can tolerate some of these harsh conditions.
But in the wild, the survival rate is much lower.
“A lot of people say we can’t survive,” Tiwsss said.
“We can’t be successful in our own country.
We’re not doing anything we’re not good at.”
The salmon hatchery would be part of the federal Fish and Game Act.
The Fish and Wild Heritage Act states that the Fish and Native Resources Commission can establish fish hatcheries to test the fish population for adaptability.
“There are a lot of things we can do to ensure that we can sustainably manage the fish stock,” says Tewesbury.
The fish hatchers could also help scientists study how to help fish survive in warmer climates.
And there are other ways the commission can help.
The Alaska Wildlife Resources Management Act is supposed to protect the environment, the fisheries, and the fisheries themselves.
But critics say it doesn’t do either.
They say it gives special treatment to fish hatches, and it also gives special rights to commercial fishers and polluters.
“It’s an enormous injustice that a private person can have exclusive rights to the fishing rights of Alaska, and yet it’s illegal for the state to do anything about it,” says David Tarrant, a conservation biologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Tarrants study the fish hatched in the refuge.
He says that he believes that the hatchery is a significant contributor to the decline in the fish populations.
“This is an area where we can have a very significant impact on the populations,” he said.
Telling Alaska stories Tewesss and Tewmars say the commission wants to get involved in the salmon hatcherries in Alaska.
But they say they’re not sure how much time and money they’ll need.
“If we can get that right, then we’ll be able to put the hatchery up and run it in a couple of years,” Tewsburys says.
That’s because Tewmans is planning a big, multi-year project to study the effect of hatcherys on the fish stocks.
Twesss says he’s looking to find a place to have the hatches built in Alaska, in a place that is in the right climate, where they’re producing the salmon that people will eat.
“My goal is to see if we can use the hatchers to produce salmon and