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Groundfish Assessment Program

The Groundfish Assessment Program is responsible for planning, executing, analyzing, and reporting results from surveys to establish time series estimates of the distribution and abundance of Alaska groundfish resources in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and Aleutian Islands. The program also investigates biological processes and interactions with the environment to estimate growth, mortality, and recruitment to improve the precision and accuracy of forecasting stock dynamics. Impacts of bottom trawls on the seafloor and the description of bottom type are also being studied in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

The Groundfish Assessment Program in cooperation with the RACE Shellfish Assessment Program annually conducts a bottom trawl assessment survey for groundfish and king and Tanner crabs in the eastern Bering sea. This survey was initiated in 1971 and has been conducted annually since 1979. Annual surveys of sablefish abundance in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands region and Gulf of Alaska have been conducted since 1979 in cooperation with the AFSCs Auke Bay Laboratory. Major triennial surveys have been conducted for groundfish resources in the Aleutian Islands region, and in portions of the eastern Bering Sea not included in the annual groundfish/crab survey since 1977. Standard trawls and longlines have been used throughout these time series surveys. Special purpose surveys and studies have been conducted to improve understanding of biological processes, interaction with the environment, and factors affecting the precision and accuracy of estimates of abundance and population forecasts.

Data derived from Groundfish surveys are documented in scientific reports and are incorporated into stock assessment advice to the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, international fishery management organizations, the fishing industry, and the general public.

  • Mischievous Snailfish and Other Mysteries of the Deep Go there >>
  • The applicability of sonars for habitat mapping: a bibliography. Go there >>
  • Results of the 2014 underwater camera survey of the eastern Bering Slope and Outer Shelf. Go there >>

  • Recent Poster Presentations, Publications, Reports & Activities

    • KASTELLE, C. R., T. E. HELSER, J. L. MCKAY, C. G. JOHNSTON, D. M. ANDERL, M. E. MATTA, and D. G. NICHOL. 2017. Age validation of Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) using high-resolution stable oxygen isotope (δ18O) chronologies in otoliths. Fish. Res. 185:43-53.   Online.
    • SOMERTON, D. A., R. A. McCONNAUGHEY, and S. S. INTELMANN. 2017. Evaluating the use of acoustic bottom typing to inform models of bottom trawl sampling efficiency. Fish. Res. 185:14-16.  Online.
    • GARDNER, J. R., J. W. ORR, D. E. STEVENSON, I. SPIES, and D. A. SOMERTON. 2016. Reproductive parasitism between distant phyla: Molecular identification of snailfish (Liparidae) egg masses in the gill cavities of king crabs (Lithodidae). Copeia 104:645-657.   Online.
    • ORR, J. W. 2016. Two new species of snailfishes of the genus Careproctus (Liparidae) from the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Copeia 104:890-896.   Online.
    • Using Triggered Cameras to Determine Fish Behavior in Rocky, Untrawlable Areas
      Conference:  Western Groundfish Conference (19th), Newport, OR, Feb 2016
      (2016 poster, .pdf, 468 KB)   Online.

    • Introducing the Working Group on Maturity Assessment and Reproductive Variability of Life Stages
      Conference:  Western Groundfish Conference (19th), Newport, OR, Feb 2016
      (2016 poster, .pdf, 1.85 MB)   Online.


    See the poster and publications databases for additional listings.

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