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EMA: History

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Ecosystem Monitoring & Assessment:
Gulf of Alaska Ecosystem Assessment
Chukchi Sea Ecosystem Assessment
Salmon Ocean Ecology & Bycatch Analysis
Autonomous Underwater Vehicles
Program Activities:
Data Sets
EMA Pollock Energy Content

Relationship between the average energy content (kJ) of individual age-0 pollock in September and the age-1 pollock recruitment anomaly for the same year class in July of the following year

The Ecosystem Monitoring and Assesment Program (EMA) began in the early 2000’s as a small team of scientists principally concerned with factors affecting early marine ecology of Pacific salmon and other marine nekton in the North Pacific Ocean.  Studies were conducted during late summer and fall within the Gulf of Alaska, eastern Bering Sea, and Chukchi Sea to collect fisheries and oceanographic data that would provide mechanistic understanding of factors affecting the fitness of juvenile and age-0 fish during their first summer at sea.  Growing fast and attaining sufficient energy during the first summer at sea is critical, because as food resources decline during winter, only those fish that attained sufficient size and energy will survive. 

The Program utilizes NOAA ships and chartered fishing vessels to undertake broad scale, systematic grid surveys in the Large Marine Ecosystems of the North Pacific Ocean.  At each station, fish are collected using a mid-water rope trawl that contains a small mesh liner in the codend to capture and retain juvenile and age-0 fish.  Biological and physical oceanographic data are collected using plankton nets and a conductivity-temperature at depth device that also contains bottles to collect water samples at various depths in the ocean.

Acoustic backscatter of pollock

Acoustic backscatter of age-0 walleye pollock. (Photo courtesy of Sandra Parker-Stetter)


Today the program has integrated surface trawls stations with mid-water acoustics to provide a complete understanding of pelagic fish ecology.  Our projects now include information on vertical distribution of important commercial (age-0 pollock, Pacific cod, and Pacific salmon) and forage fish (capelin, herring, and sand lance), as well as the physical and biological oceanographic indices that are related to fish fitness prior to winter.



Ed Farley
Auke Bay Laboratories
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries

Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute
17109 Pt Lena Loop Rd
Juneau AK 99801
(907) 789-6085

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