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AFSC Historical Corner - Timeline of Significant Events

Agency Timeline
Early Pioneers
Research and Mgmt.

From the mid-1700s through the present, numerous noteworthy events were meaningful to the evolution of the U.S. Government's concern regarding the Alaska marine fisheries.

The entire timeline is provided on this page. Individual pages highlighting the event sections below are accessed by clicking each section heading (e.g., '1741-1869' ), or by using the sidebar.

"Event items" are also found on pages in the Research & Management and Technology sections.

Check out:  the AFSC's organizational history and its various agency names

quick jumps to event sections below
1741-1869 1870-1884 1885-1899 1900-1909 1910-1919 1920-1929 1930-1939
1940-1949 1950-1959 1960-1969 1970-1979 1980-1989 1990-1999 2000-2011

1741-1869  « Click these headings or use the sidebar for detail pages
1741 Georg Wilhelm Steller becomes the first European to see northern fur seals as part of Vitus Bering's "voyage of discovery" in the North Pacific. The species is given a formal name Phoca ursina in 1758.
1786 The Pribilof Islands are discovered by the crew of the Russian ship St. George under the command of Gerasim Pribilof.
1867 Alaska, with its vast but untapped marine and anadromous fishery resources, is purchased from Russia for $7.2 million.  Spencer Fullerton Baird, Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution plays a key role in influencing Congress to approve the purchase. Furs, rather than fishes, were Alaska's most prominent resource. Later, the U.S. Fish Commission would move to protect the northern fur seal from high-seas killing.
1868 On 27 July, Congress outlaws the killing of seals within the Territory of Alaska. The U.S. Treasury Department assumes responsibility for fur seals on the Pribilof Islands.
1869 By Joint Resolution of 3 March, the Pribilof Islands of Saint Paul and Saint George are declared a special conservation reservation for government purposes.

1870-1884   (top of page)
1870 The Federal Government assumes management of the Pribilof Islands' fur seal resource and welfare of the Aleut communities. The Alaska Commercial Company, operating out of San Francisco, is granted a 20-year lease to harvest male fur seals at the Pribilofs.
1871 On 9 February, the United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries is established as the first federal agency concerned with natural resource conservation. Spencer F. Baird becomes its first Commissioner. The Commission is directed by Congress "... to determine whether a diminution of the number of food-fishes of the coast and lakes of the U.S. has taken place; and, if so, to what causes the same is due; and whether any and what protective prohibitory or precautionary measures should be adopted in the premises....". Baird immediately initiates a broad spectrum of ecological research.
1872 Henry W. Elliott is sent to the Pribilof Islands to conduct first surveys of northern fur seals and to supervise their management.
1877 The first salmon cannery in Alaska is established at Klawak.
1880 Systematic research on Pacific salmon is conducted by Tarleton H. Bean.
1882 In March, the 234-foot U.S.S. Albatross is launched, becoming the first U.S. vessel built exclusively for fisheries and oceanographic research. The iron-hull, twin-screw ship is designed to conduct its marine investigations in any part of the world's seas. The Albatross later becomes the first commissioned vessel to conduct research along the U.S. West Coast and Alaska.

1885-1899   (top)
1888 On 20 January, Congress establishes the U.S. Fish Commission as an independent agency of the Federal Government and terminates its administrative relationship with the Smithsonian Institution. Marshall McDonald is appointed Commissioner at a salary of $5,000 per year.
  On 4 July, the first federal efforts in fishery studies along the North Pacific coast begin as the Albatross leaves San Francisco to collect marine samples and observe fish and other aquatic life. Fisheries investigations and research (primarily on Pacific cod) are conducted aboard the vessel off the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. In the 1890s, The Albatross carries two presidentially appointed commissions to study the plight of the fur seal. Their reports confirm that seal populations are being seriously harmed by pelagic (high-seas) seal hunting. The Albatross returns many times over the next 33 years to conduct fisheries and oceanographic research and northern fur seal law enforcement patrols.
  The Pacific halibut fishery is inaugurated as a sailing schooner returns to Seattle with its catch.
1889 Pacific halibut is shipped to the U.S. East Coast by rail, and as the market develops and demand grows, the fishery gradually expands farther offshore.
  The Albatross is ordered to escort the Dawes Commission along the Pacific coast.
  Livingston Stone likens the Pacific salmon of Alaska to the buffalo and calls for the formation of a "National Salmon Park."
  Congress authorizes an investigation into the habits, abundance, and distribution of Alaska's salmon.
1890 The U.S. Government awards a 20-year lease to the San Francisco firm, North American Commercial Company, to harvest male fur seals at the Pribilof Islands.
1892 Based on Livingston Stone's recommendations, Afognak Island in Alaska is set aside as a Forest and Fish Cultural Reserve by proclamation of President Harrison.
1893 The U.S. Fish Commission becomes responsible for northern fur seal research.
1896 Salmon research from the Albatross leads Congress to regulate Alaska salmon fishing with net restrictions, closed seasons, spawning escapement requirements, etc.
  Dead fur seal pups are counted on all rookeries at the Pribilof islands for the first time as part of seal mortality studies.
1898 In response to commercial obstruction of Alaska's Karluk River, Congress passes its first salmon protection law.
1899 The U.S. Rivers and Harbors Act allows Alaska fishermen to secure a permit granted by the U.S. War Department to buy salmon traps. The War Department's sole interest in the matter is to ensure that the traps will not obstruct navigation.

1900-1909   (top)
190? The western-style purse seine is first used in the Pacific herring fishery, gradually replacing the Norwegian style of oar-propelled seine boats.
1902 Auke Lake is claimed by William Win and Martin Needham for establishing a fish hatchery, which was built but never operated.
1903 By a Congressional act on 14 February, the U.S. Fish Commission and the Office of the Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries are placed in the Department of Commerce and Labor, which is also created by the new Act. The transfers take place on 1 July.
  The formerly independent Fish Commission is named the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries (BOF). The new Bureau retains the scientific responsibilities of the Fish Commission and incorporates other fishery-related functions: i.e. jurisdiction, supervision, and control over the fur seal of Alaska are assumed from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
  David Starr Jordan is chosen to head a committee appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to investigate the causes for the decline in the salmon fisheries of Alaska.
  The first salmon-marking experiments in southeastern Alaska are begun by Fred Chamberlain (BOF naturalist aboard the Albatross).
1905 The first federal hatchery in Alaska is established on a lake at Yes Bay in southeastern Alaska.
1906 During a raid on the Pribilof Islands seal rookeries, five poachers from the Japanese pelagic sealing fleet are killed by BOF personnel acting in self-defense, and a dozen others are jailed.
  The Albatross sails on a lengthy research cruise to the Aleutian Islands, Japan, and Korea, making extensive biological collections and discovering hundreds of new genera and species of fishes. The Captain, Lieutenant Commander LeRoy Mason Garrett (U.S. Navy), is thrown from the vessel and lost at sea during a violent storm on the return trip.
1907 The second federal hatchery in Alaska is built at Afognak Lake (Litnik Lake) on Afognak Island, near the site selected in 1889 by Livingston Stone and on the reserve established earlier by Presidential Proclamation.
1909 Dr. Charles H. Gilbert, an associate of D. S. Jordan, is named scientist in charge of the Bureau's Pacific Fishery Investigations group – based at Stanford University for the next 22 years as the Agency's fisheries research hub for the Pacific coast and Alaska.

1910-1919   (top)
1910 Owing to the abuses connected with pelagic sealing, the Bureau assumes the entire administration of the Pribilof Islands including all matters relating to the northern fur seal and fox populations; and the care, education, and welfare of the native population.
  Under a Congressional act on 21 April, the U.S. Treasury Department turns over jurisdiction of the minor fur bearing animals in Alaska to the Department of Commerce and Labor.
  Dr. Charles H. Gilbert begins applying a new method for ageing Pacific salmon. This adaptation of the European method involves the counting of ridges on the scales of certain fish. Within 10 years, this ageing method is experimentally tested and universally accepted with regards to the Atlantic salmon.
1911 On 4 March, the Sundry Civil Bill is approved, establishing the Alaska Fisheries Service which is formally organized as a division of the Bureau of Fisheries on 1 July. The Service now administers the services for fur seals, other fur bearing animals, Pacific salmon, and various fisheries in Alaska. These species had been managed previously by the Division of Scientific Inquiry respecting food fishes.
  Due to the decreasing supply of halibut reported on the Pacific coast, the Bureau conducts a preliminary investigation of possible fishing banks west of Southeast Alaska aboard the steamer Albatross, which leaves Seattle on 25 May.
  On 7 July, the United States, Great Britain (for Canada), Japan, and Russia conclude a convention and establish the North Pacific Fur Seal and Sea Otter Treaty for the protection of the marine mammals that had been virtually decimated by overhunting on the high seas. This provides a sound basis for managing both species.
  On 25 August, 40 reindeer are brought to the Pribilof Islands for the first time as an experiment to assist the local economy by providing meat, milk, hides, and to serve as burden carriers. This number grows to 1,700 over the next 26 years.
  The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (est. 1902, headquartered in Copenhagen) officially invites the United States to become a member. Represented by the Department of Commerce and Labor, and the Bureau of Fisheries, the U.S. joins the organization in 1912, withdraws during World War I, and does not rejoin again until 1973.
1912 The eruption of Alaska's Mount Katmai covers the Bureau's Afognak salmon hatchery with nearly a foot of volcanic ash, hampering operations and causing heavy losses to both eggs and fry due to suffocation. An estimated 20,000 salmon are killed at Litnik Lake and thousands more are driven from blocked tributary spawning streams back into the ocean. Temporary field stations are erected nearby at Eagle Lake and Kodiak Island. Questions and studies of the potential impact of volcanic ash on lake fertilization ensue.
  A 5-year closed period (established by a Congressional bill resulting from the 1911 fur seal treaty) begins, prohibiting the killing of seals on the Pribilof Islands except for those used as food by the native people.
  A Congressional act (24 August) creates a territorial legislature for Alaska, providing for uniform fishery taxes; the prohibiting of water pollution from lumbering wastes (e.g. sawdust harmful to fish); the prohibiting of non-U.S. fishing for fish, whales, and other marine animals; and certain restrictions on fish traps and fishing areas.
  The coal-burning steamer Wigwam is purchased by the Bureau in the fall for $17 million. She is renamed the Osprey and becomes the first BOF vessel used for fisheries patrol in Alaska.
  As a result of the pelagic seal hunting ban, George A. Clark works for the Bureau of Fisheries to conduct the first complete census of the various classes of seals on the Pribilof Islands. During the summer, Clark and M. C. Marsh (Pribilof Islands naturalist), with local help, permanently mark seals for scientific purposes at the islands, using hot iron branding for the first time. Prior to 1912, the marking of seals – by shearing or clipping an area of fur from the top of the head – was temporary, with the mark disappearing within a year as the fur grew back.
1913 Fur seal skins from the Pribilof Islands, which until now had been sent to London for sale, are now shipped by rail from San Francisco to Messrs. Funstein Bros. & Co. in St. Louis for prossessing and auction.
1914 A small office opens in Seattle's historic Smith Tower Building as a temporary administrative center for the Bureau's Pacific coast operations.
  The U.S. Department of Labor is separated from the Department of Commerce (DOC). The Bureau of Fisheries is retained by the DOC.
  Seattle replaces San Fransisco as the base to purchase supplies that are transported to the Pribilof Islands by ship. Skins from the islands are now brought to Seattle for rail transport to St. Louis.
1915 William F. Thompson, an early student of David Starr Jordan, begins his study of the halibut fisheries of the North Pacific. He later becomes the director of investigations for the International (halibut) Fisheries Commission, the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission, and the Fisheries Research Institute of the University of Washington. This halibut research is the first scientific study made on the Pacific coast fishery that is aimed at fishery management.
  In New York, the Bureau of Fisheries purchases Robert Peary's steamship Roosevelt – noted for Peary's Arctic explorations – for use as a Pribilof Islands tender. Two years later, the renovated ship is sent to the Pacific Northwest.
1916 The canning of clams begins in the Cordova district of Alaska.
1917 A telegraph service is started by the Bureau of Fisheries and the Washington-Alaska Military Cable & Telegraph System to provide several coastal Alaska towns with the daily prices of certain fish being sold in Seattle and Ketchikan. This information proves beneficial to fishermen who are now able to market their products at current prices.
  The sister boats Auklet and Murre are the first vessels built for fisheries enforcement work in Alaska.
  The Roosevelt arrives in Seattle and becomes the first ocean-going ship to enter Lake Washington when it leads a flotilla of vessels during the 4 July dedication for the opening of the Government Locks connecting Puget Sound with the Ship Canal. Soon afterwards, the Roosevelt begins her sailings as the Bureau's first Pribilofs Islands tender, dedicated to transporting supplies and personnel to and from the islands.
1918 The Bureau begins using temporary employees during the fishing season acting as "stream watchmen" to patrol against fishing violations and protect the salmon spawning grounds in Alaska. Initially, 10 men using small boats are employed in the southeastern districts. By 1931, the number grows to 220 men employed throughout the territory.
1919 Due to concern over the threatened Pacific salmon supply, Dr. Charles H. Gilbert and future BOF Commissioner Henry O'Malley conduct a special investigation of the salmon fishery at several locations in central and western Alaska.
  As a result of a 23 December BOF order, a heightened effort begins to erect markers at the mouths of streams indicating areas prohibited for fishing.
  On 15 July, the BOF's first Pribilof Islands tender Roosevelt is sold for $28,000. The Eider is acquired as its replacement.

1920-1929   (top)
1920 On 31 May, an act is passed transferring the Agriculture Department's jurisdiction over walruses and sea lions in Alaska to the Department of Commerce. New regulations are approved by the Secretary of Commerce governing the killing of these animals within the territorial limits of Alaska.
  An elaborate plan is initiated by which certain vessels provided by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and Coast & U.S. Geodetic Survey are assigned to cooperatively conduct fishery patrol work in Alaska. The commanding officers and other officers are authorized to conduct searches, arrests, and seizures in connection with enforcing the laws and regulations.  More >>
  Dr. C. H. Gilbert and Willis H. Rich begin conducting extensive Pacific salmon tagging experiments around the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak Island. They use consecutively numbered aluminum tags attached to 4,000 red salmon, which are released and (20%) recaptured. The goal is to determine what feeding grounds are used by the Bering Sea red salmon, and what spawning streams they return to.  More >>
  A stable elevated tripod platform for counting fur seals on the Pribilof Islands is used experimentally for the first time. It proves far superior to any elevating structure previously tried.
  A cooperative effort begins in the Bristol Bay district between the Bureau and salmon packers that organizes an expedition to eliminate predatory fishes in certain waters of the region.
1921 An intensive Pacific salmon study, involving extensive scale sampling, is conducted each year by Charles Gilbert at Bristol Bay, Karluk Lake, and Karluk River – the most important Alaska salmon stream in terms of harvest. To facilitate this work, the yearly maintenance begins of the salmon counting weir/rack built across the Karluk River near its mouth. Nine years later, the weir is completely rebuilt in 10 days. Of the several various important stream weirs in Alaska, 10 are being maintained by 1926.
1922 Willis H. Rich, former student of David Starr Jordan and field assistant working on Alaska salmon issues with Charles Gilbert, becomes chief of the Bureau's Division of Scientific Inquiry. He later heads the Pacific Fishery Investigations at the Bureau's Stanford station (California), and in 1943 becomes Director of the Montlake Laboratory in Seattle.
1923 As part of an exhausting cross-country trek to meet Americans, Warren G. Harding becomes the first U.S. president to visit the Alaska territory and delivers an ensuing public address on 27 July in Seattle. In his speech he stresses the importance of the Alaska fisheries industry, whose current product value "is more than double that of all metals and minerals", and calls for conservation of the Alaskan salmon through enforced regulations. Having strained health, President Harding dies suddenly 6 days later.
  An investigation of the resources and biology of Alaska clams begins and continues through 1924. These studies show that in comparison with clams on the Washington coast, Alaska clams are fewer in number and grow significantly slower, requiring roughly twice the time to reach a marketable size. They are also less resistant to heavy fishing and slower to return to productivity when depleted.
1924 The 6 June Alaska Fisheries Act (White Act), which amends the 26 June 1906 act, is passed by Congress and approved by the President. This new act (and its later revisions) provides for further conservation and protection of the Alaska fisheries by authorizing the Secretary of Commerce to limit catches, set seasons, and restrict (but not limit the amount of) gear in respect to the taking of all fisheries products from U.S.-controlled Alaskan waters. It sets a 50% escapement level for streams where fish could be counted or reliably estimated. The act also allows Bureau employees to serve as peace officers, with powers to arrest persons and seize property in violation of the act. Bureau of Fisheries Commissioner Henry O'Malley then visits Alaska from July to September to gather first-hand knowledge of the fisheries, so to best advise on any additions or modifications to the act.
  A 7 June act for the protection of the North Pacific halibut fishery becomes effective, establishing for the first time an annual closed season (for 3 months, beginning mid-November) on halibut fishing for U.S. and Canadian vessels. This legislation is provided for in the North Pacific Halibut Treaty, resulting from the 2 March 1923 convention between the U.S. and Great Britain.
  Bureau of Fisheries Assistant Agent E. M. Ball directs the preliminary studies of the shrimp fishery in Southeast Alaska, concerning the location, movements, and spawning period of shrimp, as well as improvements to fishing gear.
  Bureau of Fisheries Commissioner Henry O'Malley and a member of the Halibut Commission, sends BOF biologist Harlan Holmes to Seattle to find working space for the Bureau. A small staff of Bureau employees work at the University of Washington's Fisheries Hall, Number 4, until construction of the Montlake Laboratory is completed in 1931.
  Salmon tagging is conducted in Southeast Alaska for the first time.
1925 The International Pacific Salmon Investigation Federation is established to address regional fishery problems through coordinated research and discussion. The organization consists of the Bureau of Fisheries, the Biological Board of Canada and fish commissions from California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.
  Fishery research biologist George A. Rounsefell's annual biological herring investigations at several Alaska areas begin in the spring. During the following year, studies become more extensive and a program starts for the tagging of herring and subsequent tow-net collection of larvae. Rounsefell states; "The growing use of herring for food and manufacture into oil and meal has aroused considerable anxiety concerning the danger of depletion."
1926 A detailed annual study of razor clam beds begins in Alaska, in which collected data on growth rate is used to regulate the fishery based on the understanding of their life history.
  Additional Pacific salmon studies are conducted in Chignik, Alaska under the leadership of Harlan Holmes.
  The extensive robbery of fish traps is potentially curtailed by a 16-17 September trial ruling (United States v. Val Klemm, et al.), which defines that fish trap owners have legal property ownership over the fish caught within their traps while still in the water. This was not the general impression prior to the case. The defendants are found guilty of larceny and sentenced to 3 years in a federal penitentiary.  More >>
  Technological studies begin on how to utilize the wastes and by-products that are generated during the short Pacific salmon canning season. That year, a record 6,652,882 cases of Alaska canned salmon are produced.
1927 The continued destruction of predatory trout near the Bureau's Yes Bay and Afognak hatcheries proves beneficial to the rearing of salmon fry.
1928 A very large Pacific herring return in the Aleutian Islands leads to the development of a major fishery based in Dutch Harbor. Simultaneously there is a major collapse of the herring fishery in Southeast Alaska.
  The International Fisheries Commission issues its first report on Pacific halibut. Studies continue on the collection of eggs and larvae and environmental parameters.
1929 New investigations begin on the sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay under Alan Taft and on the Copper River under Seton Thompson. Investigations on the pink salmon of southeastern Alaska begin under Fred Davidson.
  Enforcement of Pacific salmon regulations is emphasized, and the Bureau employs 228 agents using 24 vessels. For the first time, an aircraft is utilized for patrol work, which is experimental and limited to the use of a seaplane by agents from Juneau and Ketchikan in Southeast Alaska.

1930-1939   (top)
1930 The Sockeye Salmon Fisheries Convention is signed to address conflicts between U.S. and Canadian fishermen in Puget Sound and the Strait of Georgia, where they compete for sockeye salmon bound for the Fraser River in B.C. Despite the Convention, questions remain unresolved, including the role of the Pacific Salmon Commission in regulation of the fishery, the division of catch between the fishermen of the two countries, and the agencies responsible for investigations. Studies of the salmon fishery by the Bureau of Fisheries would begin in 1931.
  C. M. Hatton (BOF) conducts the first recorded aerial survey in Alaska, in the Lake Clark district of Bristol Bay.
1931 The Montlake Laboratory opens to become the Bureau's West Coast and Alaska field station and Joseph Craig is appointed its first Director. The Halibut Commission moves to the Montlake facility in July.
1932 An extensive herring tagging program begins in southeastern Alaska using the new metal "belly" tag, made of pure nickel, which can be recovered by a magnetic detection system on the conveyer belts at processing plants. George A. Rounsefell and Edwin Dahlgren's ideas lead to the development of this tag. Dahlgren refines the tags in 1935 and develops electronic and magnetic systems for recovering the tags as the fish pass through the reduction plant.
  As an attempt to establish an additional food source, the Bureau of Fisheries vessel Murre and her crew assisted B. E. Smith, of Ketchikan, in transporting and planting approximately 300,000 seed oysters of the Japanese variety in waters of the southern district of Southeast Alaska.
1933 Frederick Davidson is appointed Montlake Laboratory Director and focuses on statistical analysis of fisheries research. He hires a statistical analyst. About the same time, the Halibut Commission begins to apply Baranof's theory of fishing to the regulatory problems of the halibut fishery.
  Both Alaska federal hatcheries, at Yes Bay and Afognak Lake (Litnik Lake), operate for the last time and close after the end of the season.
1934 Temporary Little Port Walter field facilities for pink salmon survival studies are built on Sashin Creek on the southern tip of Baranof Island in southeastern Alaska. They include the weir cabin, built in Seattle, barged to Alaska, and still in use (as of 2011).
  An extensive program of stream improvement in southeastern Alaska is undertaken as a project of the Civil Works Administration. One year later, the Works Progress Administration funds the projects for the improvement of salmon-spawning streams in southeastern and central Alaska.
1936 The Sockeye Salmon Fisheries Convention between the U.S. and Canada is ratified by the U.S. Senate; ratification documents are exchanged between the two countries in 1937.
  Resource utilization research at the Seattle Biological Laboratory examines the use of fish products in poultry feed, and various product preservation techniques.
1937 A U.S.-Canada treaty sets up the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission to manage those regional fisheries and coordinate extensive salmonid research programs. W. F. Thompson is Director of Investigations.
1938 An expansion of the Alaska fishery research program at the Seattle Montlake Laboratory begins with a large, comprehensive two-part program of study on the salmon runs in the Bristol Bay area of the Bering Sea. A field station and experimental area are established on Brooks River. One part studies the freshwater life history of the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon and the environmental factors affecting their survival. The other part studies the ocean life history of salmon and is done in close cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard using the cutter Redwing. The studies end in 1941 with the outbreak of World War II and Japan's invasion of the Aleutian Islands.
  Congress authorizes $25,000 to establish a permanent fishery laboratory at the existing Little Port Walter facility in Alaska for "an orderly program of fishery investigation".
  George B. Kelez initiates a Bristol Bay research program which incorporates aerial and ground surveys for sockeye salmon.
1939 On 3 April, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Fisheries and the Agriculture Department's Bureau of Biological Survey are transferred to the U.S. Department of Interior as part of the 1939 Presidential Reorganization Plan No. II.

1940-1949   (top)
1940 The 1940 Reorganization Plan No. III, effective 30 June, merges the Bureau of Fisheries and the Biological Survey as part of the Interior Department's Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS); in addition, it provides for the establishment of five regional fisheries offices. The Bureau of Fisheries and Biological Survey groups would be separated again in 1956 as the renamed Bureau of Commercial Fisheries and the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife.
  The Little Port Walter Station headquarters building, commonly known as "the White House", opens and (as of 2011) is the longest continuously operating fisheries research facility in Alaska.
  The Bureau's Alaska Technological Laboratory is set up in Ketchikan; it moves to Kodiak in 1971.
  Congress appropriates $100,000 for a 1-year study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on the potential of an Alaska king crab fishery. The investigation is directed by Roger W. Harrison, head of the Seattle Fishery Technological Laboratory. The report is favorable and provides many data on harvest areas, fishing gear, preservation, canning, and the fishery potential.
1941 Construction of a permanent field laboratory station begins on Brooks River.
  On 23 October, Japan terminates the international fur seal convention, but protection for the Pribilof herd is arranged by a provisional agreement between Canada and the United States.
  Tagging of fur seal pups is initiated in Alaska.
1942 "Fish for war is the present aim of the fishery biological investigations of the [Fish and Wildlife] Service," states the Department's Annual Report. The following year, the Agency's Ketchikan Laboratory is asked to investigate potential emergency sources of marine foods in the event military activities in Alaska cause food shortages. It studies various sharks and the Steller sea lion, as well as groundfish and shellfish.
  A 108-page supplement to the May issue of the Fishery Market News reviews "The Alaska King Crab," noting that Alaska waters hold "... an enormous reserve of edible fish – notably 'sole' and pollock – which is at present wholly unutilized."
  "In every major war fought by the United States, the fishing fleet has formed a second line of naval defense, fishing boats and fishermen being employed in various capacities for patrol, as mine sweepers, in supplying protein food to the armed forces and the civilian population." - Charles E. Jackson, Acting Bureau of Fisheries Commissioner.
1944 The War Food Administration frees sperm whale oil from restricted civilian use, allowing it to be used for grinding oils, carbon paper, mimeograph inks, typewriter ribbon, etc.
  The War Manpower Commission emphasizes the need "for encouraging employees to adapt more fishing jobs to the employment of women ... women can do much of the work in fish processing plants that formerly was considered for men only."
  Selective Service State Directors are given authority to recommend draft exemptions for 18-25-year-old captains of fishing vessels of 20+ gross tons. Of the 600 fishing boats requisitioned for emergency use by the U.S. Army, Navy, and Coast Guard, 142 are released to the War Shipping Administration by the military; 13 are returned to their original owners.
1945 President Harry S. Truman issues a proclamation asserting U.S. jurisdiction "... over the natural resources of the continental shelf under the high seas contiguous to the coasts of the United States and its territories, and providing for the establishment of conservation zones for the protection of fisheries in certain areas of the high seas contiguous to the United States."
1947 Rebuilding after the hurricane at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, begins – a small number of research investigations there resume.
  While progress in establishing conservation zones in the Pacific and other waters to protect salmon and other fisheries is temporarily suspended, the State Department advises of its "firm intention to resume attention to this highly important matter at the earliest possible opportunity".
  The FWS vessel Black Douglas begins its long-awaited studies of the Alaska fur seal.
  Using a mounted F-56 Fairchild aerial camera, G. B. Kelez and G. J. Eicher, Jr. begin experimental vertical aerial photographic surveys of the Bristol Bay region as a means of permanently recording salmon spawning counts.
1948 Aerial photographs are taken of all fur seal rookeries as an experimental censusing technique.
  For the first time, ridges circling the extracted teeth from freshly killed fur seals are counted as a reliable means of age determination.
  Exploratory Fishing and Gear Development Section operations are initiated within the Seattle Technological Laboratory under Maurice Stansby. The aim is to organize a working group to operate on the Pacific coast.  More >>
1949 The Seattle Exploratory Fishing Project is officially transferred from the Technological Laboratory to function as a separate entity.
  The FV Oregon begins using a LORAN (terrestrial radio LOng RAnge Navigation system), making it the first Fish and Wildlife Service fishing-survey vessel to employ a long-range aid to marine navigation.
  Delegate E. L. Bartlett of Alaska introduces a bill in Congress to provide for the gradual reduction and ultimate elimination of salmon traps in Alaska waters – a Department of Fisheries is created by Alaska's Territorial Legislature.

1950-1959   (top)
1950 A sixth regional fisheries office is established in Alaska to facilitate administration of Alaska's fisheries.
  The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) vessel John N. Cobb is commissioned with a public open house at Seattle, Washington. Both she and the newly built boat, John R. Manning, are tasked with exploratory fishing and gear research in Alaska and other areas in the Pacific Ocean. The Cobb remains in service for 58 years.
  The FWS's 20-year old Pribilof Islands tender Penguin is severely damaged from a fire at Lake Union in Seattle and sold the following year. Fortunately, within a week, the U.S. Army surplus ship Lt. Raymond Zussman (FS-246) is acquired nearby and begins sailing as the replacement tender. A few months later she is renamed the Penguin II.
  An independent Western Fish Disease Laboratory is established by the FWS at the University of Washington's College of Fisheries. Facilities include a large bacteriology laboratory, consisting of a wet lab with three large aquaria, 16 4-foot troughs supplied with heated and chilled water, and support facilities for researchers.
1953 Preliminary explorations for salmon in the offshore waters of the Aleutian Islands are made by the John N. Cobb, mainly to develop techniques for fishing salmon with gill nets on the high seas.
  The International Convention for the High Seas Fisheries of the North Pacific Ocean establishes the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission (INPFC).
1954 Fisheries biologist George B. Kelez and four other Fish & Wildlife Service employees lose their lives in a tragic plane crash in Alaska.  More >>.
1955 The first survey to determine the distribution of salmon in the eastern North Pacific Ocean is made in the spring by the John N. Cobb, and is followed later this year by similar cruises with two chartered halibut schooners, the Mitkov and the Paragon. The general distribution of North Pacific Ocean salmon will be firmly established by 1961.
1956 The new Fish and Wildlife Act creates the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), to include two Bureaus: the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (BCF) – the descendant of the original U.S. Fish Commission – and the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife (BSFW). The Alaska Fisheries Science Center would later evolve from the BCF. The Act also declares a National Fishery Policy recognizing the Nation's fish, shellfish, and wildlife as valuable renewable natural resources. Federal responsibility for most of the wildlife activities historically managed by the Fish Commission and Bureau of Fisheries – including pinnipeds and cetaceans – is given to the BCF. Responsibility for sea otters, manatees, walruses and birds is assigned to the BSFW, along with sport fish research and most of the freshwater fish hatcheries.
  All biological research associated with the Alaska finfish fisheries (except that being performed for the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission) is transferred from the Montlake Laboratory in Seattle to Juneau.
  From 1956 through 1964, the Montlake Laboratory studies and defines the biology and populations of king crab in the eastern Bering Sea.
1957 Exploratory fishing operations by the BCF off Alaska locate new Pacific ocean perch and shrimp resources. Exploratory research in the central, eastern, and northern Pacific reveals that Japanese and American fishermen are exploiting the same stocks of albacore.
1958 Congress passes the Alaska Statehood Act on 7 July.
  In 1958 and 1959, Congress appropriates $430,000 for the construction of the Auke Bay Laboratory 12 miles north of Juneau, Alaska.
  Japan agrees, under terms of the North Pacific Fisheries Convention, to abstain from salmon fishing on the high seas of the North Pacific east of longitude 175°W, while research continues to determine the proper line to divide Asian and North American salmon stocks equitably. Research shows that sockeye salmon of the North American type appears to predominate in the North Pacific as far west as longitude 175°E.
  The Western Fish Disease Laboratory moves to a vacant warehouse at the nearby Sand Point Naval Air Station in Seattle. The U.S. Navy provides the carpentry, plumbing, and electrical work needed to furnish a well laid out laboratory.
  The Bureau's Biological Laboratory at Stanford obtains indices of air circulation changes over the North Pacific for a 32-year period (1926-57) and studies their effects on sea temperatures, upwelling, and fish populations.
1959 The Bureau of Commercial Fisheries is called upon to intensify fishing treaty enforcement and foreign fishing surveillance in international waters, especially off the Alaska coast where Japan and the Soviet Union have concentrated their greatest fishing efforts.
  Alaska becomes the 49th state on 3 January. Federal management of Alaska's commercial fisheries ends on 31 December.

1960-1969   (top)
1960 Federal management of Alaska's commercial fisheries is turned over to the new state's agencies; Alaska Board of Fish and Game, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
  The Bureau of Commercial Fisheries' northern fur seal and whale research studies are combined in Seattle and designated as the Marine Mammal Biological Laboratory.
  The Auke Bay Laboratory near Juneau opens to house the Alaska fisheries research programs.
  In July 1960, an Alaska fisheries exploration and gear research program is initiated, based at Juneau. Its purpose is to obtain greater knowledge of the untapped fishery resources off the coast of Alaska so that orderly development of these resources may take place.
  Scientists begin using radioactive materials in biological research.
1961 In response to increasing numbers of foreign vessels fishing along U.S. coasts, the Bureau increases its surveillance efforts to ascertain possible effects on U.S. fisheries.
  The Center's Marine Mammal Biological Laboratory conducts its first studies on bowhead whales.
1962 The transport ship George B. Kelez is acquired for the Seattle Laboratory from the U.S. Navy. The vessel allows the Bureau's oceanographic and high-seas salmon studies to be extended into the winter season for the first time.
  The Bureau makes its first whale marking and observation cruise off southern California and northern Baja California to determine the condition of the North Pacific whale stocks and those pursued by the two U.S. whaling companies.
  A 2-year emergency Alaska salmon research program concludes, having determined the carrying capacity of the freshwater spawning and nursery areas of the state. The program also provided a better understanding of the Pacific salmon runs and their management, and the data needed for renegotiation of the International North Pacific Fisheries Convention in 1963.
  The Bureau's first winter high-seas salmon survey cruise in the North Pacific finds a significant concentration of immature red salmon in a broad area about 200 miles south of Kodiak Island and helps toward understanding the distribution and survival of salmon at sea. Methods are also developed to distinguish between North American and Asian pink salmon.
1963 U.S. biologists are placed on some Japanese trawlers and factory ships in the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska, obtaining data on the catch by species, area, and quantity, and on gear efficiency.
1964 The BCF's Seattle Technological Laboratory initiates research on the Pacific whiting, then called "hake," – another potentially large fishery.
  The "Bartlett Act," Public Law 88-308, of 20 May, prohibits fishing in U.S. territorial waters by foreign-flag vessels unless allowed by treaty. This Act establishes 3-mile territorial waters along most U.S. coastlines.
  Scientists at the Bureau's Seattle Biological Laboratory use the results of pioneering studies in serology, or blood group analysis, to identify several subpopulations of salmon in the eastern North Pacific Ocean.
1965 Seattle Biological Laboratory scientists find scale characters useful in distinguishing Asian from Bristol Bay, Alaska, sockeye salmon, and for identifying stocks of intermingled salmon in the Gulf of Alaska from various North American river systems. Pink salmon are also identified to their area of origin by scales.
1966 Marine resource concerns lead Congress, under P.L. 89-454, to authorize on 17 June the creation of the "Commission on Marine Science, Engineering, and Resources." Later chaired by Julius A. Stratton of the Ford Foundation, it is simply called the "Stratton Commission." P.L. 89-454 also sets up the National Council on Marine Resources and Engineering Development.
  In response to the increased foreign fishing activity off the U.S. coasts, Congress passes Public Law 89-658, extending the U.S. fisheries territorial sea to a 12-mile zone in which the United States will exercise the same exclusive rights in respect to fisheries as it has in its territorial sea.
  Scientists with the Ketchikan Technological Laboratory discover a new method for peeling Alaska's pink shrimp quickly and for maintaining their quality and color, thus overcoming a major obstacle to commercial production.
  A biologist at the Auke Bay Biological Laboratory in Alaska devises a new type of lightweight, simple, and inexpensive plastic driftcard to chart surface ocean currents. A patent on it is secured for the Bureau.
  The Northern Fur Seal Act is passed to protect the fur seal herd and administer the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea.
  Between late January and March, the MV G. B. Kelez and MV Argo conduct the first winter season oceanographic measurements in the western Subarctic region of the North Pacific Ocean.
1967 On 9 January, President Lyndon B. Johnson appoints the 15 members of the "Stratton Commission" who immediately begin their study of the Nation's marine problems and needs.
  A new $4 million, 215-foot ocean research vessel, the Miller Freeman, is launched; being designed with laboratories and equipment especially for North Pacific oceanographic and fisheries studies.
1968 BCF and Japanese scientists cooperatively study several U.S. fish species as potential ingredients for "surimi," a frozen fish product used in Japan to make fish sausages and fish cakes. Studied are the spiny dogfish, starry flounder, and several Pacific coast rockfishes.
1969 The "Stratton Commission" presents its final report on 11 January and recommends the creation of a new federal entity - a "National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency" (NOAA) to include initially the BCF and other federal marine and anadromous fishery functions, the National Sea Grant College Program, and other agencies.
  Three BCF diver-scientists participate with the U.S. Navy, NASA, and other diver-scientists in the new TEKTITE I project. The scientists spend a record 2 months on the ocean floor, working from an underwater laboratory situated at a 50-foot depth.
  Scientists at the Seattle Biological Laboratory provide estimates of growth, mortality, and other data for Pacific whiting and Pacific ocean perch. This research forms the basis for the U.S. position in discussions with the U.S.S.R. to reduce the Soviet whiting fishery.
  Auke Bay Laboratory scientists provide U.S. negotiators and management agencies with background data on king crabs in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. The data helps U.S. representatives obtain a 48% reduction in the king crab quotas of Japan and the U.S.S.R.
  The Exploratory Fishing & Gear Research group based at the Montlake Laboratory (Seattle, WA) obtains its first SCUBA dive team. 
  The Bureau and the University of California study 175 female northern fur seals found at San Miguel Island, California; the first confirmed record of these seals breeding on other than the Pribilof Islands.

1970-1979   (top)
1970 On 3 October 1970, U.S. President Richard M. Nixon signs Executive Order No. 11564 to consolidate various fishery, oceanic, and atmospheric agencies into a new agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in the Department of Commerce. Robert White is appointed the first NOAA Administrator. The new organization is directed toward a better understanding of the Nation's living marine resources, the environment in which they are found, and the interaction between the two. The Bureau of Commercial Fisheries becomes a component of NOAA and is renamed the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).
1971 Robert White establishes four major "offshore" fisheries research centers throughout the Nation: the North Pacific Fisheries Research Center (NPFRC), Southwest Fisheries Center (SWFC), Northeast Fisheries Center (NEFC), and Southeast Fisheries Center (SEFC), all of whom report to NMFS headquarters. Three "coastal" fisheries research centers, which report to Regional Directors, are also established: the Gulf Coast Fisheries Center (GCFC), Atlantic Estuarine Fisheries Center (AEFC), and Middle Atlantic Coast Fisheries Center (MACFC). The basic five-regional office structure is retained.
  On 28 November, the NPFRC, established in September, is renamed the Northwest Fisheries Center (NWFC). Dayton Lee Alverson is Acting Director and Dr. Brian Rothschild is Deputy Director. As part of the reorganization, the Center in Seattle, staffed by approximately 200 employees, is composed of a Center Director's Office and five divisions: the Marine Fish, Shellfish, and Oceanography Division; the Coastal Zone and Estuarine Studies (CZES) Division; the Fisheries Data and Management Systems (FD&MS) Division; the Environmental Conservation (EC) Division; and the Marine Mammal Management and Monitoring Division.
  The inaugural issue of the Center's Quarterly Report is published in September with the inception of the North Pacific Fisheries Research Center. Initially published as a monthly report, the AFSC Quarterly Report continues to highlight the research and general activities of the Center.
  Center scientists successfully rear coho salmon in floating saltwater pens; a technique that shows great promise as a commercial salmon production venture.
  Center staff develop a computer program to plot fishing stations of the RV George B. Kelez in the North Pacific.  More >>
  NMFS Exploratory Fishing and Gear Research scientists in Seattle develop steel wire pots for harvesting sablefish.  More >>
  Pot fishing and other techniques are developed to capture sablefish. Other inexpensive and lightweight deep-water fish traps are developed at the Center. They are found to be effective and are adopted commercially.  More >>
  A salmon-counting sonar device is developed for enumerating salmon in glacially turbid Bristol Bay and Cook Inlet streams where visual counts are impossible.
  NMFS Auke Bay Laboratory scientists survey prior to and after the detonation of a nuclear device at Alaska's Amchitka Island; no significant damage to marine fauna or environment is found.
  Center scientists and technicians aboard the NOAA ship John N. Cobb complete a survey of waters off southeastern Kodiak Island.  More >>
  U.S. commercial whaling ends as of 31 December.
1972 NMFS Director Philip Roedel announces that the Agency, under NOAA, has a much broader charter than its predecessor agencies and is now resource-oriented rather than user-oriented.
  Through 1973, major ships from NMFS fisheries, National Ocean Survey (NOS), and Environmental Research Laboratories (ERL) integrate in phases to form a consolidated NOAA fleet, operated by the Office of Fleet Operations (OFO), a component of NOS. Under this system, the Fleet Allocation Council (FAC) manages and allocates vessel time for each ship based on user requests.
  The Marine Mammal Protection Act is passed and establishes a moratorium on taking marine mammals in U.S. waters and by U.S. citizens on the high seas.
  The Coastal Zone Management Act is passed to provide guidance, expertise, and funding to help states protect and manage U.S. coastal areas.
1973 The Endangered Species Act is passed to protect species and populations whose numbers are small or declining. NMFS is responsible for marine species under the law.
1974 On 1 July, the Auke Bay Laboratory (ABL) in Alaska becomes a part of the Northwest Fisheries Center as a separate division.
  An automated database is developed for North Pacific whaling statistics.  More >>
  An acoustic-electronic device is developed to remotely measure trawl opening dimensions and trawl distance to seabed.  More >>
  Center staff collaborates to develop a conceptual model of the Bering Sea ecosystem.  More >>
  The NMFS-wide Marine Resources Monitoring Assessment and Prediction (MARMAP) program is established. The project forms the basis for uniform data collection necessary for fisheries management and critical to the ecosystems approaches now being developed by fishery management councils.
1975 On 23 November, the Marine Fish and Shellfish Division is split into the Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering (RACE) and Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management (REFM) Divisions.
  In August, the Auke Bay Laboratory uses the power barge Murre II to conduct the first cruise for acquiring information on the abundance and distribution of humpback whales in Southeast Alaska.
  Gravel incubators are used to enhance pink salmon return to Auke Creek, Alaska.  More >>
  NOAA receives over 100 acres of land on Sand Point in Seattle in which to build the Western Regional Center campus – dedicated in 1983 and completed in 1984, it becomes the new home to several Center groups.
  Some 195 cases are investigated relating to the Marine Mammal Protection Act as are 381 cases involving endangered species and related products including seizures of quantities of sperm whale oil and teeth, raw baleen, and scrimshaw.
  A baseline survey is conducted (and in 1976) to describe the demersal fish and shellfish resources of the eastern Bering Sea.  More >>
1976 Center scientists investigate the effects of Cook Inlet, Alaska, crude oil on shrimp and crab larvae.  More >>
  The Fishery Conservation and Management Act (FCMA) is passed and establishes eight regional fishery management councils and the 200-mile fishery conservation zone (FCZ).
  The Polish Zooplankton Sorting Center in Szczecin, Poland, opens as a multinational effort to process marine life sampled in the massive research efforts during the ICNAF era. Scientists from the Northeast Fisheries Center (NEFC) are instrumental in training Polish staff to identify and classify zooplankton and in helping to establish laboratory procedures.
  On 1 October, The Northwest Fisheries Center officially becomes the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center (NWAFC) as a result of the Auke Bay Laboratory joining the Center.
  A division is added to the NWFAC when the existing technological laboratories in Seattle and Alaska are combined to form the Utilization Research (UR) Division. In Alaska, this change results in the Ketchikan operation moving to Kodiak.
1977 A Center scientist is appointed to the NMFS Committee investigating the fishery application of satellites.  More >>
  U.S. and foreign scientists collaborate to assess the compatibility of age readings for walleye pollock and hake.  More >>
  The first observers are placed on foreign fishing vessels – Fishery data processing begins.  More >>
  A sea lion census conducted by the Center's Marine Mammal Division off Alaska indicates a population decline of Steller sea lions.  More >>
1978 On 1 April, four NMFS biologists set up camp in snow caves at Cape Lisburne, Alaska, to study and count endangered bowhead whales during their spring migration.
  Using hydroacoustic techniques, Auke Bay Laboratory scientists find that schools of juvenile and adult Pacific herring occupy the same wintering grounds off Southeast Alaska.  More >>
  The first U.S. woman biologist is placed as an observer on a foreign groundfish vessel fishing in Alaskan waters.  More >>
1979 On 1 February, the NWAFC's Marine Mammal Division is designated as the National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML).
  For the first time in the history of the Groundfish Assessment Task, two women become Chief Scientists during research vessel surveys in the eastern bering Sea.
  The first U.S. survey is made of seamount marine life in the Gulf of Alaska.  More >>

1980-1989   (top)
1980 In January, Dr. Lee Alverson retires. Francis Fukuhara, followed by Murray Hayes, both serve as Acting Center Directors until September, when Dr. William Aron is named director of the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center.
  On 12 March, scientists of the NWAFC Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering (RACE) Division discover a large concentration of walleye pollock eggs in Shelikof Strait, Alaska, near Kodiak Island. In subsequent years, researchers measure the spawning population and trace the movements of the eggs and larvae. This research has expanded into the Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (FOCI) program, a joint effort with NOAA scientists at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory.
  The original Fishery Conservation and Management Act is officially renamed the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MFCMA) in honor of Washington State Senator Warren Magnuson.
  A computer program is created to retrieve photograph of whales stored on computer.  More >>
  A massive spawning concentration of walleye pollock is found near Kodiak Island.  More >>
1981 NOAA facilities are completed at the Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport to serve the scientific needs of various organizations and government agencies.
1982 The Northern Pacific Halibut Act is passed to enforce the terms of the U.S.-Canada agreement prohibiting fishing by unauthorized foreign vessels.
1983 On 10 March, the fishery conservation zone (FCZ) is designated as the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by Presidential Proclamation.
  On 28 October, the Center at the new Sand Point location in Seattle is dedicated.
1984 In September, the National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML), becomes the first group to move into Building 4 at the new Seattle Sand Point facility. Later in the year, the NWAFC's Center Director's Office, Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering (RACE) Division, and Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management (REFM) Division also make the move. The Utilization Research (UR) and Environmental Conservation (EC) Divisions remain at Montlake because of the extensive laboratory space available there. The Coastal Zone and Estuarine Studies (CZES) Division also stay at Montlake because of its fish-rearing facilities.
  On 10 March, the fishery conservation zone (FCZ) is designated as the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by Presidential Proclamation.
  Longline sablefish index surveys are planned by Auke Bay Laboratory scientists.  More >>
  On 18 August, a plane carrying four biologists from the National Marine Mammal Laboratory crashes into the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean during bowhead whale surveys. Miraculously, all survive.  More >>
1985 The Association of Primary Production and Recruitment Processes in Subarctic Ecosystems (APPRISE) study is initiated in Auke Bay.  More >>
1986 Early in the year, the Fisheries Data and Management Systems Division is disbanded and mainframe computer services are carried on by the Office of Fisheries Information Systems (OFIS) group of the Center Director's Office.
1988 Marmot Island northern fur seal observations and research begins.  More >>
  In October, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) received a report of three gray whales trapped in ice near Barrow, Alaska. Over a period of 3 weeks, NMFS led an international rescue endeavor, named "Operation Breakthrough", that allowed two of the whales to swim free from the ice on 28 October. Another rescue effort in Alaska that month saved 27 beluga whales stranded off Anchorage.  More >>
  Genetic diversity of chum salmon is studied for Southeast Alaska streams.  More >>
1989 On 24 March, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez runs aground on Bligh Reef, Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound. This event led to years of Center research on the effects of oil spills on Alaska marine ecosystems.

1990-1999   (top)
1990 The NWAFC is divided into the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) – made up of ABL, NMML, OFIS, and the RACE and REFM Divisions – and the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, with the CZES, EC, and UR Divisions. The restructuring plan emphasizes continued Division interaction. The RACE, REFM, and UR Divisions, and the NMML, with program responsibilities which apply to both the Northwest and Alaska regions, support the ecosystem.
1992 The Convention for the Conservation of Anadromous Stocks in the North Pacific Ocean is signed in Moscow by Canada, Japan, Russia, and the United States establishing the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission. The North Pacific Anadromous Stocks Convention Act repeals the North Pacific Fisheries Act of 1954 and implements protective measures for salmon and shad.
  The High Seas Driftnet Fisheries Enforcement Act is passed to maintain a list of nations that allow large-scale driftnet fishing (which entangles protected mammals and fish as well as commercial fish) beyond their EEZ.
1994 A South Korean fishing company, whose vessel was caught poaching fish from U.S. waters in the western Pacific, settles in U.S. District Court for a $1 million fine and agrees to have its fleet of 17 fishing vessels tracked by satellite for 5 years. The provision allowing satellite tracking by U.S. authorities is unprecedented.
1995 Management of the Pacific halibut and sablefish fisheries off Alaska is converted from an open-to-entry "derby-style" system to individual fishing quotas, allowing an 8-month season, improved product quality, and availability of fresh halibut and sablefish to the consumer.
  The first research cruises for the Ocean Carrying Capacity study in the North Pacific Ocean began successfully in October through a joint effort by scientists from the ABL and the Biological Laboratory (Canada Department of Fish and Oceans, Nanaimo, B.C.).
  A small group of scientists establish the AFSC Diversity Panel to expand the Alaska Fisheries Science Center's educational outreach activities. The mission of the Diversity Panel is "to chart and coordinate AFSC's activities in promoting community outreach programs, training opportunities for current employees, and establish cooperative programs with regional educational institutions to encourage interest in the disciplines of mathematics and science."
1996 On 3 January, Dr. William Aron retires as Center Director. On 16 August, Dr. James W. Balsiger is appointed Science and Research Director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center.
1996 The Alaska Fisheries Science Center website goes public.

2000-2011   (top)
2001 On 7 October, Dr. Douglas DeMaster is named Director of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center.
2003 The Oscar Dyson is launched on 17 October in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The ship is the first of four new ships built by NOAA and is considered one of the most technologically advanced fisheries survey vessels in the world. The Dyson is homeported in Kodiak, Alaska, where she is commissioned on 28 May 2005.
2005 On 21 August, REFM's North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program formally becomes the Fisheries Monitoring and Analysis (FMA) Division as part of the AFSC.
2006 The AFSC Committee on Outreach, Education, and Diversity (COED) is formed from the former AFSC Diversity Panel. Its goal is to develop, maintain and improve education and outreach activities that support the AFSC's mission to communicate scientific information generated to protect, conserve, and manage living marine resources in Alaska.
2007 In May, the Auke Bay Laboratories moves into the new Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute at Lena Point in Juneau, Alaska scientists and staff plan to occupy 85 offices and 14 laboratories in the new 69,000 square foot facility.
2008 On 30 August, AFSC scientists in collaboration with scientists from the University of Washington and University of Alaska successfully complete a historic research cruise to the Beaufort Sea. The project, funded by Minerals Management Service, gathers information on fishes in the offshore waters of the Beaufort Sea during the brief ice-free season. The only fish survey to occur in the offshore waters previous to this was opportunistic and took place in 1977.
  On 13 August, the research vessel John N. Cobb is decommissioned in Seattle as the oldest wooden boat in the NOAA fleet.
2009 NMML's Polar Ecosystem Program conducts an extensive study on seals in the Bering Sea. The research cruise focuses on locating, capturing, sampling, and applying satellite-linked tags to ribbon and spotted seals. In addition, an evaluation is made on the utility of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) technology to improve ice seal abundance and distribution estimates by flying sensor test flights and limited line transect surveys with an Insight A-20 UAS.


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