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environment

Melissa Good / Alaska Sea Grant

Unalaskans are used to spotting marine mammals around the island.

But lately, they're not just seeing whales or otters. They're seeing ringed seals — an Arctic species that typically lives far north of the ice-free Aleutian Islands.

Now, scientists are monitoring the unusual visitors to find out why they're here.  

Berett Wilber/KUCB

Unalaska has taken its first official step toward banning plastic bags.

On Tuesday, the City Council tasked the city manager with developing an ordinance to prohibit the flimsy, disposable bags used at grocery stores.

Councilors issued the directive unanimously after hearing from Unalaska resident Laresa Syverson.

"It’s not that a plastic bag ban is going to solve all our problems," said Syverson. "But it will help with the way we depend on plastic."

Courtesy Paradigm Marine

 

Western Alaska will have better oil spill response capabilities with a new vessel. The OSRV Ocean Liberty was expected to arrive in Unalaska by the end of March, but the ship is awaiting modifications and clean up of an oil spill in Shuyak Straight near Kodiak has delayed the process.

Unalaska Mayor Frank Kelty is excited for the added layer of safety the vessel will bring to the region. In a given year at America’s top fishing port, he says local fuel docks can pump up to 60 million gallons of fuel. Plus, large vessels pass through the region on major shipping routes.

Kristin Cieciel/NOAA

 

Do jellyfish affect Bering Sea fisheries? And if so, how?

That’s what Yale University’s Jonathan Rutter wants to find out. The college senior is conducting a survey to learn more about the gelatinous creatures directly from fishermen.

 

“What are these impacts that jellyfish have on Bering Sea fisheries?" Rutter said. "And those impacts could be economic- or nuisance-based. I’m going in it with a pretty open mind.”

 

(NOAA)

 

Seven years ago this week, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake stuck off the coast of Japan, triggering a tsunami with waves up to 30 feet high. The event ravaged communities, and its after effects have been felt across the Pacific.

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