Since March 22, 2009, Alaskan volcano Mt. Redoubt has erupted multiple times, sending ash and steam as high as 45,000 feet into the air. Ashfall has been reported as far away as Anchorage, about 100 miles to the northeast, and has resulted in a great deal of frustration for Alaskan communities, as air travel has been restricted and most flights have been canceled. While initially there were hopes that the volcanic activity would be minor, all signs indicate now that this round of eruptions may follow a similar schedule as the 1989 event, which ended up lasting for around 4 months.

It is too early to tell what this might mean in the long run for local fishing industries, but scientists are speculating that there may be similar issues as arose in the eruption twenty years ago.

Fishing runs in the Cook Inlet area are expected to sustain the greatest impact, simply due to their proximity to the volcano. The Drift River is the primary drainage for the volcano, and suffered the brunt of the damage in 1989. The health and disruption of the river may or may not have any direct effect on the Cook Inlet salmon, however. Biologists have a number of factors to watch out for. Debris flows may disturb riverbeds and spawning grounds, thus cutting down on salmon populations in the area. Ashfall and other disruptions in the environment may reduce insect populations, as well, which could also lead to a drop in runs. Lava and mud flow carving out new land formations could further upset the spawning cycle and result in drops in salmon counts for the region. More directly, salmon may be killed by drastic changes in water temperature due to boiling volcanic runoff.

Depending on the direction of the winds and the final extent of the eruptions and ashfall, the Kenai peninsula may also be affected by Mt. Redoubt. Fishing fleets, suppliers, and consumers are advised to keep an eye on the ongoing volcanic activity, and to stay updated on the availability of wild seafood from the region.

Will the eruption of Mt. Redoubt affect the Alaskan fishing industry?
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2 thoughts on “Will the eruption of Mt. Redoubt affect the Alaskan fishing industry?

  • April 12, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    I think we, in the Alaska fishing and tourism industry, have to
    keep a cautious eye out, but proceed as usual….and just
    hope and pray for the best.


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