Forage Fish Research
|Eulachon (Thaleichthys pacificus).
Forage fishes are of particular concern in Alaska because the decline
of these species is considered to be a potential cause of dramatic
declines in populations of
Steller sea lions,
fur seals, and
during the past 20 years. Forage fishes are abundant, schooling fishes
preyed upon by many species of seabirds, marine mammals, and other fish
species. They provide important ecosystem functions by transferring
energy from primary or secondary producers to higher trophic levels.
Major forage fishes in Alaska include
juvenile walleye pollock, Pacific herring, Pacific sand lance, capelin, eulachon, and
Atka mackerel. Other species, such as
Pacific salmon juveniles,
are sometimes important (usually seasonally or locally). The North Pacific
Fishery Management Council has designated a special forage fish
management category to prevent directed fishing on some groups of forage
including: gunnels, lanternfish, sandfish, sandlance, smelts, stichaeids,
Most forage fishes are distinguished by schooling behavior,
relatively short life spans, and are locally abundant. Most species have
demersal eggs, but walleye pollock have pelagic eggs which are spawned
in deep water along the continental shelf. Other species spawn in
freshwater streams (e.g., Pacific salmon and eulachon), and some species
spawn in the shallow water along the beach (e.g., capelin, Pacific sand
lance, and Pacific herring.)
- BARTON, M.B., J. R. MORAN, J. J. VOLLENWEIDER, R A. HEINTZ, and K. M. BOSWELL. 2016. Latitudinal dependence of body condition, growth rate, and stable isotopes of juvenile capelin (Mallotus villosus) in the Bering and Chukchi Seas. Polar Biol. Early online. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1007/s00300-016-2041-8 Online.
- McDERMOTT, S. F., V. HAIST, and K. M. RAND.
2016. Evaluating the efficacy of trawl exclusion zones by estimating local Atka mackerel abundance and movement patterns in the central and eastern Aleutian Islands. Mar. Coastal Fish. 8:334-349. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19425120.2015.1135218 Online.
- BOSWELL, K. M., G. RIEUCAU, J. J. VOLLENWEIDER, J. R. MORAN, R. A. HEINTZ, J. K. BLACKBURN, and D. J. CSEPP.
2016. Are spatial and temporal patterns in Lynn Canal overwintering Pacific herring related to top predator activity? Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 73:1307-1318. https://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2015-0192 Online.
- ORR, J. W., S. WILDES, Y. KAI, N. RARING, T. NAKABO, O. KATUGIN, and J. GUYON.
2015. Systematics of North Pacific sand lances of the genus Ammodytes based on molecular and morphological evidence, with the description of a new species from Japan. Fish. Bull., U.S. 113:129–156. (.pdf, 2.14 MB). Online.
- Local Abundance and Movement of Atka Mackerel and Other Steller Sea Lion Prey in the Aleutian Islands
By: SUSANNE F. McDERMOTT, MIKE LEVINE, KIMBERLY RAND, ELIZABETH LOGERWELL, TODD LOOMIS
Conference: Alaska Marine Science Symposium, Anchorage, AK, Jan 2016
(2016 poster, .pdf, 866 KB) Online.
- Opportunistic Use of a Towed Stereo Video System Taking Advantage of Pre-existing Platforms During Atka Mackerel Tagging Research
By: MIKE LEVINE, ISABEL JUSTINIANO, SUSANNE F. McDERMOTT
Conference: American Fisheries Society, 145th Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, Aug 2015
(2015 poster, .pdf, 6.17 MB) Online.
- Related AFSC research program reports and activities: forage fish
- Steller Sea Lion Project Theme: Foraging
- Steller Sea Lion Project Theme: Fish Assessment and Fisheries
- Additional publications, posters, and reports.