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Catch & Release

09.14.04

Health of world’s sea lions the focus of Sept. 30 Anchorage symposium

More than 100 scientists who study the world’s sea lions, including dozens who study the decline of Alaska’s Steller sea lions, will gather in Anchorage, Alaska, from September 30 to October 3, 2004, for the 22nd Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium.

“Sea Lions of the World: Conservation and Research in the 21st Century” is the theme of the international science conference, coordinated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Alaska Sea Grant College Program and a host of Alaska state and federal agencies.

Researchers from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, England, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Puru, Russia, Uruguay, and the United States will deliver presentations on topics including life history, physiological ecology, foraging ecology, population ecology, population dynamics, and conservation and management.

The Lowell Wakefield Fisheries Symposium has been held annually since 1982. The series is named in honor of Lowell Wakefield, a long-time Alaska fisherman, who is credited with modernizing Alaska’s red king crab fishing industry.

Changes in the abundance of sea lions is a growing concern to fisheries and conservation groups, either because fisheries are feared to threaten sea lions, or because sea lions are feared to threaten fisheries. The issues are common to all five of the world’s sea lion species.

This symposium will bring the world community of sea lion researchers together to share their experiences and knowledge. Interspecies comparisons can shed light on why some populations might decline while others increase. Insights can also be gained on whether trends in the abundance of sea lions are related to fishing activities through food dependencies or more directly through control or conservation measures.

A better understanding of the biology of sea lions is urgently needed. This symposium will significantly contribute to understanding why sea lion populations fluctuate, including populations of Alaska’s Steller sea lions.

For program, registration, and agenda information, please visit the conference web site.

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