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NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-266

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Results of the 2011 eastern Bering Sea continental shelf bottom trawl survey of groundfish and invertebrate fauna

Abstract

From May to August 2011, the Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering Division, Alaska Fisheries Science Center National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service conducted its 30th annual eastern Bering Sea (EBS) continental shelf bottom trawl survey of groundfish and invertebrate fauna. The stern trawlers FV Alaska Knight (43.5-m) and FV Aldebaran (40-m)were chartered to sample this survey area. Demersal populations of fishes and invertebrates were sampled by trawling for 30 minutes at stations centered within a stratified systematic grid, each grid cell measuring 37.04 × 37.04 km (20 × 20 nmi). All 376 standard survey stations were successfully sampled. At each of these stations, species composition of the catch was determined, and length distributions and age structure samples were collected from ecologically and commercially important species.

The average surface water temperature during the survey was 5.0°C, and the average near-bottom water temperature, measured at the height of the trawl headrope over the seafloor, was 2.3°C, the same as the long-term mean from 1982 to 2011. In the 5 years previous to the 2011 EBS survey, near-bottom temperatures were significantly below the long-term mean. A total of 98 fish species representing 60 genera, as well as 240 invertebrate taxa, were identified during the survey. Fishes accounted for 72% of the total CPUE in the EBS, 75% of which was comprised of walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma), Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), yellowfin sole (Limanda aspera), and northern rock sole (Lepidopsetta polyxystra). Invertebrate biomass largely consisted of echinoderms (43%) and crustaceans (22%).

Survey results presented herein include abundance estimates for fishes and invertebrates, geographic distributions and abundance-at-length of the more common fish species, and summary surface and near-bottom temperature data during the summer survey period. Appendices provide station data, summarized catch data by station, species listings, and detailed analyses of abundance and biological data of the sampled populations.


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