Groundfish are, with some exceptions, fish that live on or near the ocean bottom. These include commercially and ecologically important species such as Alaska walleye pollock-- target of the largest commercial fishery in the United States-- Pacific cod, sablefish, and a variety of rockfish and flatfish species. Gulf of Alaska groundfish comprise 141 species; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands, 148 species.
Our scientists determine how many fish there are, where they are, when, and at what age. We define species and stocks through systematics (the study of evolutionary relationships, which involves classifying and naming species) and genetics. We determine what habitats are essential for each species. We study how groundfish population health and survival are affected by human activities and environmental changes. We evaluate the social and economic aspects of fisheries to ensure that both fish populations and the communities that depend on them thrive.