On May 31 the Southeastern Bering Sea Bottom Trawl Survey will depart Dutch Harbor to collect data on the distribution and abundance of crab, groundfish, and other bottom-dwelling species in the southeastern Bering Sea. These data are used to estimate population abundances to manage commercially important species in Alaska. NOAA Fisheries has conducted this survey annually since 1975.
As we did last year, we intend to provide regular updates on water temperatures collected near the seafloor at all of our survey stations. When we conduct surveys for fish and other species, we also collect information about the environment in which they live -- their habitat. For fish and other species water temperature is important. It affects their spawning, access to food, and growth rates.
We had another unusually warm winter and expect to see a reduction in the cold pool. The cold pool is a natural, thermal barrier created by melting winter sea ice. It tends to separate Arctic species, usually found in the northern Bering Sea, from commercially important pollock, Pacific cod and other species, typically found in the southeastern Bering Sea. Last year after a similar warm winter, a partial survey of the northern Bering Sea was conducted. Large numbers of pollock were found there.
Once scientists complete this year’s survey of the southeastern Bering Sea, they will move northward to conduct a full survey of the northern Bering Sea bottom-dwelling community. Additional surveys are planned in the northern Bering Sea using surface trawls and hydro-acoustics to monitor key components of the marine ecosystem and environmental conditions. Be sure to check back here for regular updates on ocean temperatures collected during the Bering Sea bottom trawl surveys.
The southeastern Bering Sea bottom trawl survey will be conducted from approximately May 31 to August 2. The northern Bering Sea bottom trawl survey will be conducted from about August 3 to 25.
2019 Survey Maps
- Scientific Teams Set Out to Track Unprecedented Changes in the Eastern Bering Sea
- The 2018 Eastern Bering Sea Continental Shelf and Northern Bering Sea Trawl Surveys: Results for Commercial Crab Species
- The 2017 Eastern Bering Sea Continental Shelf and Northern Bering Sea Bottom Trawl Surveys: Results for Commercial Crab Species
- Scientific Paper: Bottom trawl surveys in the northern Bering Sea indicate recent shifts in the distribution of marine species