Pelagic Fish Abundance

Near-Surface Fish Abundance and Distribution

Ed Farley, Alex Andrews, and Wess Strasburger

Products – Geo-referenced database of numbers, weight, and catch-per-unit-effort of all major taxa by station for 2012 and 2013. Maps of catch-per-unit-effort by major taxon and year relative to water masses. Length-frequency distributions of all major taxa. We anticipate a manuscript comparing fish assemblages and oceanographic conditions between surface trawl fisheries and oceanographic surveys conducted during 2007 and those to be conducted during 2012 and 2013.

Final Reports
Summary Results

Final Reports

Final Report studies which include Surface Trawl data include:

  1. Busby M. S., Duffy-Anderson, J. T., Mier, K. L., Tabisola, H. 2015. Icthyoplankton Assemblages and Distribution in the Chukchi and Northern Bering Seas 2012-2013. US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Alaska OCS Region. OCS Study BOEM 2011-AK-11-08 a/b. 38 pp. – DRAFT REPORT
  2. Danielson, S.L., Eisner, L., Ladd, C., Mordy, C., Sousa, L., Weingartner, T. J. 2015. A comparison between late summer 2012 and 2013 water masses, macronutrients, and phytoplankton standing crops in the northern Bering and Chukchi Seas. US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Alaska OCS Region. OCS Study BOEM 2011-AK-11-08 a/b. 74 pp. – DRAFT REPORT
  3. De Robertis, A., Taylor, K., Williams, K., Wilson, C. D. 2015. Species and size selectivity of two midwater trawls used in an acoustic survey of the Alaska Arctic. US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Alaska OCS Region. OCS Study BOEM 2011-AK-11-08 a/b. 48 pp. – DRAFT REPORT
  4. De Robertis, A., Wilson, C. D., Taylor, K., Farley, E. 2016. Abundance and Distribution of Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) and other Pelagic Fishes over the U.S. Continental Shelf of the Northern Bering and Chukchi Seas. US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Alaska OCS Region. OCS Study BOEM 2011-AK-11-08 a/b. 68 pp. – DRAFT REPORT
  5. Helser, T. E., Colman, J. R., Anderl, D. M., Kastelle, C. R. 2016. Growth dynamics of Saffron cod (Eleginus gracilis) and Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) in the Northern Bering and Chukchi Seas. US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Alaska OCS Region. OCS Study BOEM 2011-AK-11-08 a/b. 50 pp. – DRAFT REPORT
  6. Murphy, J. M., Howard, K. G.,Gann, J. C., Cieciel, K., Templin, W. D., Guthrie III, C. M. 2015. Juvenile Chinook salmon abundance in the northern Bering Sea: Implications for future returns and fisheries in the Yukon River. US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Alaska OCS Region. OCS Study BOEM 2011-AK-11-08 a/b. 51 pp. – DRAFT REPORT
  7. Prechtl, M. E., Beckman, B. R., Andrews III, A. G., Beaudreau, A. H., McPhee, M. V. 2015. Growth and condition of juvenile chum and pink salmon in the northeastern Bering Sea. US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Alaska OCS Region. OCS Study BOEM 2011-AK-11-08 a/b. 59 pp. – DRAFT REPORT
  8. Sigler, M. F., Mueter, F. J., Bluhm, B. A., Busby, M. S., Cokelet, E. D., Danielson, S. L., De Robertis, A., Eisner, L. B., Farley, E. V., Iken, K., Kuletz, K. J., Lauth, R. R., Logerwell, E. A., Pinchuk, A. I. 2016. Late summer open water zoogeography of the northern Bering and Chukchi seas. US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Alaska OCS Region. OCS Study BOEM 2011-AK-11-08 a/b.93 pp. – DRAFT REPORT
  9. Vega, S. L., Sutton, T. M., Murphy, J. M. 2016. Marine-entry timing and growth rates of juvenile Chum Salmon in Alaskan waters of the Chukchi and northern Bering seas. US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Alaska OCS Region. OCS Study BOEM 2011-AK-11-08 a/b. 47 pp.

Cruise Reports for Catch Information:

  • 2012 Surface and Midwater Trawl Cruise Report Report to CIAP and BOEM
    Compiled by Alex Andrews – October 2012
  • 2013 Surface and Midwater Trawl Cruise Report Report to CIAP, BOEM and AYKSSI
    Compiled by Jared Weems – January 2014
  • Summary Results
    Arctic Cod
    Chinook Salmon
    Chum Salmon
    Pink Salmon
    Total trawl catch for the Chukchi Sea and Northeastern Bering Sea in 2012 included 73 species constituting more than 16,781 kg and 308,258 individual fish. In the Chukchi, total catch by weight was dominated by Pacific herring, jellyfish (Chrysaora melanaster), immature chum salmon (O. keta), capelin, lions mane jellyfish (Cyanea capillata), age-0 Arctic cod, and juvenile chum salmon. Total catch by number was dominated by Pacific herring, age-0 Arctic cod, capelin, Chrysaora melanaster jellyfish, Cyanea capillata jellyfish, age-0 capelin and slender eelblennys (Lumpenus fabricii).

    In the Northeastern Bering Sea, total catch by weight was dominated by Chrysoaora melanaster, capelin, Pacific herring, Arctic cod, saffron cod, immature chum salmon, and juvenile chum salmon. Total catch by number was dominated by capelin, Arctic cod, Pacific herring, Pandalus sp. Chrysaora melanaster, rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), and juvenile chum salmon.

    The distribution of our dominant species varied within the study area. For instance, Chrysaora melanaster jellyfish were distributed throughout the study area (Figure 1), whereas age 0 Arctic cod were found primarily at 70 N and above with a few fish distributed south of the Bering Strait (Figure 2). Pacific herring were distributed primarily within the NEBS and southern CS (Figure 3), whereas capelin were distributed throughout the study area with the largest catch occurring off of Norton Sound and south of St. Lawrence Island (Figure 4).

    Figure 1. Total catch (kg) of Chrysaora melanaster from the 2012 and 2013 surface trawl surveys. Chrysaora was typically a large portion of each catch across the region in both years. Individuals typically weighed between 0.5-1 kg each, while some of the largest were 5 kg or greater.

    Figure 2. Catch Per Unit Effort (#/km2) estimates of Age-0, young-of-year Arctic Cod from the 2012 and 2013 surface trawl surveys. Age-0 Arctic Cod were typically a large portion of the fish catch across in both years in the northern Chukchi Sea above Cape Lisburne (~69 degrees N and above).

    Figure 3. Catch Per Unit Effort (#/km2) estimates of Pacific Herring from the 2012 and 2013 surface trawl surveys. Herring were typically a large portion of the fish catch across in both years specifically in the NEBS. The 2013 catch was significantly larger than 2012, specifically in Age-0 Herring. This large abundance of herring could be directly related to the increased salmon abundance, as herring are an important prey base for salmon.

    Figure 4. Catch Per Unit Effort (#/km2) estimates of Capelin from the 2012 and 2013 surface trawl surveys. Capelin were typically a medium level contributor to total fish catch across in both years and are fairly ubiquitous. Though, it should be noted that large adult schools were common in the NEBS and specimens caught north of Cape Lisburne were consistently small Age-0 fish. Capelin are also an important prey base for salmon.

    A few juvenile chum (Figure 5) and pink (Figure 6) salmon were found in the nearshore region of the CS south of 70 N, but the largest catch occurred within the southern region of the NEBS. Juvenile Chinook salmon (Figure 7) and walleye pollock (Figure 8 ) were distributed within the NEBS with the largest catches occurring off of Norton Sound and within the southern Region of the NEBS.

    Figure 5. Catch Per Unit Effort (#/km2) estimates of Juvenile Chum Salmon from the 2012 and 2013 surface trawl surveys. Juvenile Chum were typically a high level contributor to salmon catch across in both years. Chum are highest in abundance in the NEBS, through are present in the southern and central CS.

    Figure 6. Catch Per Unit Effort (#/km2) estimates of Juvenile Pink Salmon from the 2012 and 2013 surface trawl surveys. Juvenile Pinks were typically a high level contributor to salmon catch across in both years. Pinks are also highest in abundance in the NEBS, through are present in the southern and central CS.

    Figure 7. Catch Per Unit Effort (#/km2) estimates of Juvenile Chinook Salmon from the 2012 and 2013 surface trawl surveys. Juvenile Chuinook were a relatively low level contributor to salmon catch across in both years. Chinook catch, exclusive to the NEBS in both years, was particulary high in 2013 where abundance were ~5x higher than in 2012.

    Figure 8. Catch Per Unit Effort (#/km2) estimates of Walleye Pollock from the 2012 and 2013 surface trawl surveys. Pollock were a relatively low level contributor to total catch across in both years. This was expected as the EBS Pollock fishery is concentrated well south of our sampling region.

    Leave a Reply