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Ocean Carrying Capacity Program

Southeast Alaska Coastal Monitoring

The first of the 2006 Southeast Coastal Monitoring (SECM) cruises took place aboard the NOAA ship John N. Cobb on 23-25 May 2006. This is the 10th year that ABLís Ocean Carrying Capacity Program has collaborated with the Marine Salmon Interactions Program to examine interannual variability of oceanographic and biological conditions in the inside waters and nearshore coastal waters of the eastern Gulf of Alaska.

The May cruise sampled two transects, Icy Point on the outside coast and mid-Icy Strait in the inside waters, plus the Auke Bay Monitor. The third transect at the junction of Chatham and Icy Straits was canceled because of vessel engine problems.

Surface trawls, zooplankton tows, and conductivity, temperature, depth (CTD) profiles, as well as surface primary production observations were completed at each station. The surface trawls were taken primarily to confirm that young salmonids had not yet left the very nearshore littoral waters. Only a few Chinook salmon entering their second ocean year were taken by the surface trawls.

Among the miscellaneous items captured by the trawls were Loligo opalescens (opalescent inshore or California market squid) and Phacellophora camtschatica (fried egg jellyfish). The market squid was not a component of the SECM cruise catches in northern Southeast Alaska until last summer although it was occasionally noted in southern Southeast Alaska. The fried egg jellyfish had not been seen by the SECM program, although it is not uncommon in some areas of the North Pacific Ocean.

By Bruce Wing

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