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MESA: Common & Uncommon Forage Species

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Unsorted catchNorthern lampfish
Viperfish, Armhook squid
Northern smoothtongue, Glass shrimp
Clockwise from top left: Unsorted catch, Northern lampfish, Viperfish, Armhook squid, Northern smoothtongue, Glass shrimp.

The photos shown depict species captured in a typical deepwater pelagic trawl haul from Stephen’s Passage, southeastern Alaska (> 200 m depth). Northern lampfish and northern smoothtongue are commonly sampled benthic species.

Pacific viperfish will reach only 12 inches in length but have extraordinarily long teeth and are a common benthic species captured in trawl hauls. The most common squid species sampled, though representing only a small proportion by count or total weight, is the armhook squid. Less common species encountered in our pelagic trawl hauls include the northern pearleye and pallid eelpout.

Bigmouth manefish
Northern pearleyes, Smooth lumpsucker
Pacific sandfish, Pallid eelpout
Clockwise from top: Bigmouth manefish, Northern pearleyes, Smooth lumpsucker, Pacific sandfish, Pallid eelpout.

Rare and unusual species sampled in pelagic trawl hauls in southeastern Alaska include Pacific sandfish and smooth lumpsucker. Sampling of rare species, such as the bigmouth manefish, provides an important opportunity to obtain and document information about rare species that would otherwise be little known.

Dave Csepp
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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