Shellfish have long been important subsistence, recreational, and commercial fisheries in the Kachemak Bay region of Alaska. Native clam populations in southcentral Alaska have declined significantly since the late 1900s to the point where fisheries are now closed and harvest opportunities are lost. The causes of population decline remain unknown, but may be related to shifts in habitat. As ocean conditions continue to change, there is an immediate need for decision-support tools to inform management efforts and enhance the productivity of native clam species.
The goal of this study is to develop a baseline reference of habitat conditions integrated with environmental variables from which change can be measured. Researchers, decision-makers and stakeholders in Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet are partnering to establish a framework upon which ecosystem-based management questions can be explored, and rehabilitation efforts can be built. Working collaboratively, we will promote native bivalve population recovery that is consistent with the long-term sustainability of a healthy and functional ecosystem.
For information about the Kachemak Bay Habitat Focus Area visit the NOAA Habitat Blueprint page.
Workshops that engage partners and stakeholders including tribal leaders, environmental planners, city officials, local and statewide agencies, and researchers.
Co-developed visualization tools and models for the Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet to support regional ecosystem-based understanding of bivalve habitat and anticipated changes to habitat and marine resources.