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NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-324

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National Marine Fisheries Service longline survey data report and survey history, 1990-2014

Abstract

This report discusses the history and methods of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) longline surveys of the Gulf of Alaska, eastern Bering Sea, and eastern Aleutian Islands and summarizes the 1990-2014 survey results. The primary purpose of the NMFS longline survey is to determine the relative abundance and length composition of sablefish, Anoplopoma fimbria; shortspine thornyhead, Sebastolobus alascanus; rougheye rockfish, Sebastes aleutianus; blackspotted rockfish, Sebastes melanostictus; and shortraker rockfish, Sebastes borealis, in the Gulf of Alaska, eastern Bering Sea, and Aleutian Islands region. Only the abovementioned species and arrowtooth flounder, Atheresthes stomias, are discussed in this report. Catch results are listed for Pacific cod, Gadus macrocephalus; Pacific halibut, Hippoglossus stenolepis; giant grenadier, Albatrossia pectoralis; Greenland turbot, Reinhardtius hippoglossoides; spiny dogfish, Squalus acanthias; and Pacific sleeper shark, Somniosus pacificus. The survey area covers the upper continental slope and selected gullies of the Gulf of Alaska and the upper continental slope of the eastern Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands region.

Overall sablefish abundance indices (relative population number (RPN) and relative population weight (RPW) for the Gulf of Alaska decreased from 1990 to 2014. Shortspine thornyhead RPN for the Gulf of Alaska increased from 1990 to 2014 and RPW increased from 1990 to 2014. Rougheye and blackspotted rockfish RPN for the Gulf of Alaska increased from 1992 to 2014 and RPW increased from 1992 to 2014. Gulf of Alaska RPN for shortraker rockfish increased from 1992 to 2011 followed by a decrease during 2012-2014. While shortraker rockfish RPWs fluctuated over the years there was an overall increase in RPWs from 1992 to 2014.


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