2014 Assessment of the Atka Mackerel Stock in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

March 04, 2014

Native Names: In the Aleut languages, Atka mackerel are known as tmadgi-{ among the Eastern and Atkan Aleuts and Atkan of Bering Island. They are also known as tavyi-{ among the Attuan Aleuts (Sepez et al. 2003).

Atka mackerel (Pleurogrammus monopterygius) are widely distributed along the continental shelf across the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea from Asia to North America. On the Asian side they extend from the Kuril Islands to Provideniya Bay (Rutenburg 1962); moving eastward, they are distributed throughout the Komandorskiye and Aleutian Islands (AI), north along the eastern Bering Sea (EBS) shelf, and through the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) to southeast Alaska.

Atka mackerel are a substrate-spawning fish with male parental care. Single or multiple clumps of adhesive eggs are laid on rocky substrates in individual male territories within nesting colonies where males brood eggs for a protracted period. Nesting colonies are widespread across the continental shelf of the Aleutian Islands and western GOA down to bottom depths of 144 m (Lauth et al. 2007b). Historical data from ichthyoplankton tows done on the outer shelf and slope off Kodiak Island in the 1970’s and 1980’s (Kendall and Dunn 1985) suggest that nesting colonies may have existed at one time in the central GOA. Possible factors limiting the upper and lower depth limit of Atka mackerel nesting habitat include insufficient light penetration and the deleterious effects of unsuitable water temperatures, wave surge, or high densities of kelp and green sea urchins (Gorbunova 1962, Lauth et al. 2007b, Zolotov 1993).

Last updated by Alaska Fisheries Science Center on 11/02/2020

North Pacific Groundfish Stock Assessments Alaska Groundfish Research Atka Mackerel