MESA: Pelagic Shelf Rockfish
Dusky rockfish as seen from Delta submersible.
Dusky (top) and dark (bottom) rockfish.
The pelagic shelf rockfish assemblage in the Gulf of Alaska is comprised of four species: dusky rockfish (Sebastes variabilis), dark rockfish (S. ciliatus), yellowtail rockfish (S. flavidus), and widow rockfish (S. entomelas). Gulf-wide, dusky rockfish are the most abundant species in the assemblage, whereas yellowtail, dark, and widow rockfish make up a very small proportion of the biomass in Alaska waters. Dusky rockfish range from southern British Columbia north to the Bering Sea and west to Hokkaido Island, Japan, but appear to be abundant only in the Gulf of Alaska. Adult dusky rockfish are concentrated on offshore banks and near gullies on the outer continental shelf at depths of 100 to 200 m. Like many rockfish in Alaska, dusky rockfish are long-lived and have been aged as old as 76 years.
Widow, yellowtail, and dark rockfish are found throughout the Gulf of Alaska but not in large numbers. These species tend to be concentrated in nearshore areas and near offshore banks on the continental shelf. Stock assesments for this assemblage are prepared annually and contain information regarding the biology, fishery, and stock status.
Auke Bay Laboratories
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries
Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
17109 Pt Lena Loop Rd
Juneau AK 99801
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