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Subject: Re: RFI: fish ID guide for Alaskan waters
From: Peter Hagen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 10 Apr 2000 17:02:19 -0800

text/plain (73 lines)

Wilken Agster wrote:
> Dear Listmembers,
> I am looking for an identification guide for fishes along the Alaskan >Pacific
> coast, preferrably with good drawings rather than photographs. Can you help >me ?
> Thank you for your recommendations in advance,
> Wilken

Wilken (and others with an interest in North Pacific fish),

If you are willing to wait, a book called Key to the Fishes of Alaska will be
coming out this year, -  at least I hope so. I believe it will be available
through the American Fisheries Society (AFS). (
There is a great need for such a book and has been a long time in coming.

Below is the most recent report by Bill Wilson, chair of the Fish Key Commitee
of Alaska Chapter of the American Fisheries, who was overseeing the effort.



Fish Key Committee

1999 Annual Report
Bill Wilson, Committee Chair
November, 1999

The Fish Key Committee was formed in 1990 to oversee the production of a Key
to the Fishes of Alaska, originally drafted by Rae Baxter, retired fishery
biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The original project
taken on by the Alaska Chapter was to assist Rae with technical editing and
completion of his draft fish key. However, early in the project, Rae died,
leaving three versions of the uncompleted draft. The Committee started a
process for seeking funding and hiring a contractor to revise and complete the
work begun by Rae. The Committee was endowed with funds to see the project
through to completion through the efforts of Lyman Thorsteinson, USGS/BRD. For
the past eight years our contractors, Point Stephens Research, of Auke Bay,
Alaska have meticulously gone through the key's hundreds of species accounts
and dozens of family descriptions. They have consulted with experts throughout
the world to ensure accuracy in all species descriptions and the most recent
information on species range extensions. This effort has made the book a new
document, updated and expanded beyond the initial projections. The late Norman
Wilimovsky was an advisor during the early years of this project and provided
many fish illustrations heretofore unavailable to the public. Of interest is
the fact that Wilimovsky's 1952 Alaskan fish key was the basis for Rae
Baxter's effort.

This past year Kitty and Tony Mecklenburg of Point Stephens Research have
completed the compilation of three major sections of the key. Remaining tasks
include integration of peer review comments on the remainder of the book, and
preparation of introductory sections. The Committee met with the Parent
Society during the annual meeting in Charlotte, NC, to plan the remaining
steps for publishing the book. We had hoped the publication process could have
started in late 1999, but it appears the completion of this last step will
occur in 2000. Currently several individuals with the publications section in
the headquarters office of AFS are working with the Fish Key Committee in
preparing for printing this book.


Peter Hagen, ADF&G        email: [log in to unmask]
P.0. Box 25526,           phone: 907-465-3499
Juneau AK USA, 99801-5526   Fax: 907-465-2765

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