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UA News for June 5, 2023

In today's news: a UAA logistics professor discusses the potential for increased cargo industry in Alaska, noting its important geographic location; UAF climate scientist Brian Brettschneider has released an updated map for a yearlong road trip around the country where the weather averages 70 degrees the entire trip; and UAF researchers are assisting an Alaska fisherman in exploring the potential for a magister squid market in Alaska.


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alaskapublic.org
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Anchorage now has the third busiest cargo airport in the world, with plans for growth

Published Jun 2, 2023 by Michael Fanelli, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage

But how much air cargo potential is there in a small city in the far north? Darren Prokop is a logistics professor at the University of Alaska, Anchorage and said the potential growth of Alaska air cargo is limited by the kinds of goods the state exports.


“We have a lot of cargo that is either transiting through, some of it is coming off, but we don’t have much cargo originating in Alaska,” Prokop said.


That’s because air cargo tends to consist of fragile, high value goods like pharmaceuticals and computer chips, he said. Alaska mostly exports bulk natural resources like oil and minerals that are shipped out on barges.


But Prokop said beyond that, Alaska would need to start manufacturing one of those high value products in order to realize its air cargo potential.


“Should we do part of value-added manufacturing of semiconductors, of computers, for example?” Prokop wondered. “So it’s a real puzzle. What is that right product that makes sense that we could do in Alaska, and it’s conducive to get on air cargo?”


Expanding cargo facilities could entice new businesses to set up shop here, but only if they understand Anchorage’s global orientation. Prokop explained that the shortest distance between Asia and the U.S. is actually up and through Alaska, because the Earth is round. He said that it’s hard to visualize that without looking at a round, 3-D globe.


“People are used to looking at wall maps, not globes,” Prokop said. “Ted Stevens Airport needs to explain to manufacturers: the Earth is round, a lot of your products are coming through Alaska, maybe you want to be here.”


Since Anchorage is less than ten hours from the majority of the industrial world, Prokop argued that Alaska is really more of a central locale than a remote one.


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NPR
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Take a yearlong road trip where the weather is perfect

Published Jun 2, 2023 by Karen Zamora

A climate scientist in Alaska has mapped out a yearlong road trip around the country where the weather averages 70 degrees the entire trip.


Well, climate scientist Brian Brettschneider in Anchorage, Alaska, has mapped out a way - in fact, several ways - that follow 70-degree weather year-round.


BRIAN BRETTSCHNEIDER: As a climate scientist, I'm always looking for ways to connect people with climate data. I think most people have done road trips in their life. People have gotten in a car or a camper or a train, and they've watched the world pass by. So this is a way to kind of reinvigorate a road trip in a way that people really haven't ever really thought about before.


SHAPIRO: The first maps came out in 2015, when Brettschneider was a faculty researcher at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He was analyzing how temperature changed throughout the year when he noticed something interesting.


BRETTSCHNEIDER: Pretty much, somewhere in the U.S. was always 70 degrees at any given time during the year.


SHAPIRO: So just for fun...


BRETTSCHNEIDER: I threw some lines on a map and connected them to the highways and put it out there.


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Chilkat Valley News
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Grant could help create Southeast squid market

Published Jun 2, 2023 by Chilkat Valley

Yamada, who's been operating fishing charters for 40 years, has been looking for ways to reduce the impacts on his business as king salmon declines. About 15 years ago, while fishing for rockfish, he and his clients caught a magister squid. He's caught a hundred at a time while jigging for just a few hours.


He's since recruited a former Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist and researchers at the University of Alaska to study the species that researchers think are moving further north as the oceans warm. He's also been granted a Fish and Game "commissioner's permit" that allows him to catch and market the squid. Yamada said he's been turned down for grants that would research what a commercial fishery would look like largely because grantees worry there isn't a market. He aims to change that.


"This grant cycle, I went on the market side, to create a global market. (The squid is) unique. It's not sold commercially anywhere in North America, and in fact, my research with the Japanese, it's not even caught or sold there. The only place I've found it is in Russia."


In an effort to create a market, he'll use the grant money to, in part, attend food expos in Boston and Japan to see how it matches up with other squid species. He's already taken the squid to sushi chefs in California and Hawaii and said he's received favorable reports. The magister squid are tender, flavorful and don't have the iodine taste that the more common Humboldt squid contain, Yamada said. He also hired a San Francisco marketing company, which is aiming to brand the squid as "Alaska Ika." Ika is the Japanese word for squid.


"It's a brand name to provide some kind of exposure that this is coming from Alaska. I might be able to use this squid as a U.S.-sourced food product for the sushi market here instead of having everything imported from China and Japan."


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