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2013 Assessment of the Yellowfin Sole Stock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

April 23, 2013

The yellowfin sole (Limanda aspera) is one of the most abundant flatfish species in the eastern Bering Sea (EBS) and is the target of the largest flatfish fishery in the world. They inhabit the EBS shelf and are considered one stock. Abundance in the Aleutian Islands region is negligible.

Yellowfin sole are distributed in North American waters from off British Columbia, Canada, (approx. lat. 49o N) to the Chukchi Sea (about lat. 70o N) and south along the Asian coast to about lat. 35o N off the South Korean coast in the Sea of Japan. Adults exhibit a benthic lifestyle and occupy separate winter, spawning and summertime feeding distributions on the eastern Bering Sea shelf. From over-winter grounds near the shelf margins, adults begin a migration onto the inner shelf in April or early May each year for spawning and feeding. In recent years, the directed fishery has typically occurred from late winter through autumn (Wilderbuer et al. 1992). Yellowfin sole are managed as a single stock in the BSAI management area as there is presently no evidence of stock structure.