Arrowtooth Flounder Research
Arrowtooth flounder (Atheresthes stomias) are
a relatively large flatfish. At present, data on many basic aspects of arrowtooth
flounder life history such as size and age of sexual maturity are lacking.
However, spawning fish have been observed from December through February. In
Alaska waters, arrowtooth flounder are distributed over the continental shelf
through age 4 and then at older ages disperse to occupy both the continental
shelf and the slope .
Arrowtooth flounder range from central
California to the eastern Bering Sea and currently are the most abundant fish
in the Gulf of Alaska. The huge increase in biomass observed in the 1990s resulted
from strong year-classes produced in the 1980s. Because of their abundance,
arrowtooth flounder are of substantial ecological importance at higher trophic
levels in the Gulf of Alaska food web and have been identified as a significant
food source for Steller sea lions, occurring in their diet 21%-35% of the time
in the area around Kodiak Island. Arrowtooth flounder are also known to be
voracious predators of juvenile walleye pollock.
Little effort has been directed to catching arrowtooth flounder due to the
poor quality of their flesh. Upon landing, a proteolytic enzyme released from
a myxosporean parasite causes softening of the flesh that further limits their
marketability. Recently, several food grade additives have been successfully
used that inhibit enzymatic breakdown. These discoveries have recently enabled
a targeted fishery in the Kodiak Island area for marketable products including
surimi and frozen fillets.
During 2011, pollock made up 62% of the total groundfish catch off Alaska. The pollock catch for 2011 was 1,282,780 metric tons (t), up approximately 44% from 2010.
The 2011 catch of flatfish, which includes yellowfin sole, rock sole and arrowtooth flounder, was 327,310 t or 15.8% of the total 2011 Alaska groundfish catch, up about 12% from 2010.
Pacific cod accounted for 304,950 t or 14.7% of the total 2011 Alaska groundfish catch. The Pacific cod catch was up about 22% from a year earlier.
Other important species (% of total 2011 catch and % change from 2010) are: Atka mackerel 53,430 t (2.6%, down 25%),
sablefish 12,870 t (0.6%, up 8%), and rockfish 51,120 t (2.5%, up 5%).
- STARK, J. W.
2012. Female maturity, reproductive potential, relative distribution, and growth compared between arrowtooth flounder (Atheresthes stomias) and Kamchatka flounder (A. evermanni) indicating concerns for management. J. Appl. Ichthyol. 28: 226–230.
- WILDERBUER, T. K., and B. J. TURNOCK.
2009. Sex-specific natural mortality of arrowtooth flounder in Alaska: Implications of a skewed sex ratio on exploitation and management. North Am. J. Fish. Manage. 29:306-322.
- STARK, J. W.
2008. Age- and length-at-maturity of female arrowtooth flounder (Atheresthes stomias) in the Gulf of Alaska. Fish. Bull., U.S. 106:328-333.(.pdf, 306KB) Online.
- KNOTH, B. A., and R. J. FOY.
2008. Temporal variability in the food habits of arrowtooth flounder (Atheresthes stomias) in the Western Gulf of Alaska. U. S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo., NMFS-AFSC-184, 30 p. (.pdf, 1 MB). Online.
- Ecology and Taxonomy of the Early Life Stages of Arrowtooth Flounder (Atheresthes stomias) and Kamchatka flounder (A. evermanni) in the Eastern Bering Sea
By: LISA De FOREST, J. T. DUFFY-ANDERSON, R. A. HEINTZ, A. C. MATARESE, E. C. SIDDON, T. I. SMART, I. B. SPIES
Conference: Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Anchorage, AK, Jan 2013
(2013 poster, .pdf, 3.12 MB) Online.
- Current Knowledge of The Early Life History of Arrowtooth Flounder (Atheresthes stomias) in The Eastern Bering Sea: With Comments on Kamchatka Flounder (A. evermanni)
By: LISA De FOREST, T. I. SMART, J. T. DUFFY-ANDERSON, A. C. MATARESE, R. A. HEINTZ, E. C. SIDDON, I. B. SPIES, D. W. COOPER
Conference: International Flatfish Symposium, IJmuiden, the Netherlands, Nov 2011
(2011 poster, .pdf, 1.04 MB) Online.
- Winter Ichthyoplankton Survey and Arrowtooth Flounder Studies (FOCI, Jan-Mar 2003)
Fertilized Arrowtooth Flounder Eggs (Jan-Mar 2003)
- Additional publications, posters, and reports.
of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area: Species Profiles 2001 and the
2005 North Pacific Groundfish Stock
Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Reports for 2006.)