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Groundfish Assessment Program

Eastern Bering Sea Continental Shelf Survey

Map of survey area
Map of survey area, sampling strata, sampling grid, and standardized survey bottom trawl stations. (Click on image to enlarge)

The Eastern Bering Sea Group of the RACE Division Groundfish Assessment Program and RACE Shellfish Assessment Program are tasked with conducting an annual bottom trawl survey designed to describe the composition, distribution and abundance of demersal fish, shellfish and principle epibenthic invertebrate resources of the eastern Bering Sea. The continental shelf area of the eastern Bering Sea has proven to be one of the most productive fishing areas in the world in terms of both species abundance and commercial value.

Bottom trawl surveys covering the continental shelf area of the eastern Bering Sea have been conducted since 1975, and annually since 1979. Results of the survey are necessary for up-to-date estimates of biomass, abundance and population structure of groundfish populations in support of stock assessment and ecosystem forecast models that form the basis for groundfish and crab harvest advice. Additional data collected on the survey are used to improve understanding of life history of the fish and invertebrate species and the ecological and physical factors affecting their distribution and abundance.


Data Collected

The primary biological data include relative abundance (catch per unit effort) and size and age compositions of major species including walleye pollock, Pacific cod, yellowfin sole, northern rock sole, red king crab, and snow and tanner crabs. In addition, physical data such as surface and bottom temperatures are collected. With over 25 years of annual continental shelf surveys, valuable trends in both biological and physical measures can be examined.

Map of bottom temperatures (1982-2015)
Map of bottom temperatures (1982-2015)
(Click on image to enlarge)

Additional survey data include the collection of plankton samples and acoustic estimates of walleye pollock abundance. See the details in the latest Cruise Results and Data Report. For further information on quality and reliability of the survey data, see Estimating Confidence in Trawl Efficiency and Catch Quantification for the Eastern Bering Sea Shelf Survey.


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