MAFAC Meeting Held in Portland, Oregon
ACA President Richard Yamada was appointed by Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, to serve a three-year term on NOAA's Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC).
MAFAC advises the Secretary on all living marine resource matters. At their June meeting in Portland, Oregon, participants heard progress reports from the Columbia River Basin Partnership Task Force, established by MAFAC two years ago to bring together all stakeholders of the Basin to develop a long-range plan of cooperative management.
The Columbia River basin has over a hundred dams, over fifty different native tribes, and multiple city, state, and federal
Stakeholders of the Basin have had a history of litigation that consumed the time and financial resources of all user groups. "It was a pleasure to hear how successful the committee of close to thirty members all worked together on setting a common vision," Yamada reacted, "on what they would like the river to look like and provide for each user group, twenty-five, fifty, and a hundred years from now."
NOAA's head fisheries advisor, Dr. Cisco Werner, gave a presentation of advances in fisheries science technology. It's hard to imagine that someday scientists will be able to estimate size and distribution of fish stocks just through a water sample using eDNA (environmental DNA).
New advances in molecular-level water-testing of residual fish DNA left behind as fish swim through it may lead to this.
The machine uses chemical spectrometry to determine age and may eventually determine environmental conditions that existed throughout the animal's life span. MAFAC members also took a tour of a million-dollar trailer that housed an automated system that took king salmon fry out of hatchery ponds and automatically implanted coded-wire tags in individual fish heads.
The system used cameras to sort fish by size and took a picture of each fish with identifying magnetic code. The machinery was operated by one technician that did the work that normally would have taken fifteen workers to accomplish.
The next meeting will be held in Washington, DC, and will focus on sub-committee tasks. Richard will be working with the recreational fisheries sub-committee and will be determining how MAFAC can best serve the needs of recreational anglers.