Link to NMFS Homepage Link to NOAA Homepage Keyboard Navigation Alaska Fisheries Science Center Home banner

Resource Assessment & Conservation Engineering (RACE) Division

Midwater Assessment & Conservation Engineering (MACE) Program

Winter Surveys in the Gulf of Alaska and the Southeast Aleutian Basin

Figure 3, see caption

Figure 3.  Relative backscattering (NASC) (m2 nm-2) attributed to pollock observed to within 0.5 m off bottom along tracklines surveyed during the 9-19 February 2005 echo integration-trawl survey of the Shumagin Islands and Sanak Trough in the Gulf of Alaska.

Scientists from the Midwater Assessment and Conservation Engineering (MACE) Program conducted echo integration-trawl (EIT) surveys of the Shumagin Islands and Sanak Trough in the Gulf of Alaska 9-19 February (Fig. 3 above), and of the Bogoslof Island area in the southeastern Aleutian Basin, 7-12 March 2005 (Fig. 4 below) aboard the NOAA ship Miller Freeman. The surveys provided data on the abundance, distribution, and biological composition of spawning walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma). Echo integration and trawl data were collected 24 hours per day. A total of 16 trawl hauls were made in the Shumagin Islands and Sanak Trough regions, and 19 trawl hauls were conducted in the Bogoslof Island region. With a few exceptions, pollock dominated the trawl catches. The most notable exceptions were rockfish captured during the southeastern Aleutian Basin survey between Umnak Island and Unalaska Island.

Figure 4, see caption

Figure 4.  Relative backscattering (NASC) (m2 nm-2) attributed to pollock observed to within 0.5 m off bottom along tracklines surveyed during the 7-12 March 2005 echo integration-trawl survey of the southeastern Aleutian Basin near Bogoslof Island.  Transect numbers are underlined and the Central Bering Sea (CBS) Specific Area boundary is marked.

For the Gulf of Alaska surveys, the densest pollock aggregations were located off Renshaw Point in the Shumagin Islands, and in the southern part of Sanak Trough (Fig. 3). The pollock size composition was unimodal in each of the two areas. Most of the pollock in the Shumagin Islands measured between 46 and 48 cm fork length (FL), and most of the pollock in Sanak Trough were between 48 and 49 cm FL. The unweighted maturity composition of female pollock with lengths greater than 40 cm, was 64% mature, 5% spawning, and 23% post-spawning (spent) in the Shumagin Island area, and 70% mature, 7% spawning, and 17% spent in Sanak Trough.

In the southeastern Aleutian Basin survey, pollock were concentrated in two main locations: northeast of Umnak Island, off Cape Idak, and just north of Samalga Pass, between the Islands of Four Mountains and Umnak Island (Fig. 4). Although pollock ranged between 37 cm and 73 cm FL for each of the two regions, pollock off Cape Idak were predominately 42-45 cm FL, while most of the pollock in the Samalga Pass area were about 59-63 cm FL. The reproductive condition of female pollock was observed as 68% mature, 5% actively spawning, and 14% spent.

By Denise McKelvey

Acoustic Testing of NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson

Alex De Robertis of the MACE Program participated in sonar-self noise testing of the new NOAA ship Oscar Dyson from 10 to 13 December. The vessel underwent acoustic testing conducted by the U.S. Navy and NOAA personnel to confirm that sounds produced by the vessel do not interfere with the onboard scientific echosounders used for fisheries work. During the tests, De Robertis took measurements from onboard Simrad EK60 echosounders and SM2000 multibeam sonars, which will be compared to measurements from hull-mounted hydrophones to identify sounds produced by the vessel, and their influence on acoustic data collection.

By Alex De Robertis

Conservation Engineering

The Conservation Engineering Program continued cooperative work developing salmon excluders for the Alaska pollock fisheries. Carwyn Hammond travelled to Dutch Harbor in February to provide camera and sonar systems to fishers with these devices installed in their trawls and to train crews to use the observations systems.

In March, Craig Rose participated in tests of the excluders aboard the FV Destination. Those tests were one of four such trips authorized under an exempted fishing permit issued to industry partners.

The latest version of the excluder continued to allow significant salmon escape with little loss of pollock. Modifications alleviated most problems involving accumulation of animals and partial blockage at the excluder associated with high catch rates or jellyfish concentrations. Further improvements in exclusion rates and performance will be the goal of continuing work.

By Craig Rose

Quarterly sidebar Contents


ABL Reports

NMML Reports

RACE Reports

REFM Reports


Quarterly Index

Quarterly Home