Can science solve our Chinook problem?

A state symposium opens Monday in Anchorage on "Understanding Abundance and Productivity Trends of Chinook Salmon in Alaska."

The symposium comes in response to the recent poor Chinook returns to some Alaska rivers.

The two-day event at the downtown Egan Center will be divided into four sessions, each featuring presentations and panel discussions with state and federal scientists. Here's the agenda.

The scientists will discuss such topics as ocean survival of Chinook, genetic stock identification, salmon bycatch in commercial fisheries, and the potential role of hatcheries to supplement Chinook stocks.

People can offer questions or comments at the end of each session. Wisely, state officials plan to use a moderator to help control speechmakers.

In preparation for the symposium, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game prepared this analysis identifying Chinook "knowledge gaps." The 27-page document focuses on 12 "indicator stocks" around the state, in drainages such as the Stikine, Copper, Kenai, Karluk, Nushagak, Kuskokwim and Yukon.

Ultimately, the department aims to develop a research plan to better understand the causes for Chinook declines.

Lots more information here on the symposium, including how to attend in person or listen by phone or online.