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2018 Assessment of the Shark Stock Complex in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

January 29, 2019

Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) surveys and fishery observer catch records provide biological information on shark species that occur in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) (Figure 20.1). The three shark species most likely to be encountered in BSAI fisheries and surveys are the Pacific sleeper shark (Somniosus pacificus), the salmon shark (Lamna ditropis), and the spiny dogfish (Squalus suckleyi). In total eight species of sharks have been reported in the BSAI (Table 20.1).

Squalus acanthias is the scientific name that has historically been used for the spiny dogfish of the North Pacific and many areas of the world, however, the S. acanthias “group” is not monospecific and has a history of being taxonomically challenging. The North Pacific spiny dogfish were reclassified by Girard (1854) as S. suckleyi, but the description was vague and no type specimens were preserved, thus it remained S. acanthias. In a 2010 study, S. suckleyi was resurrected based on morphological, meristic, and molecular data (Ebert et al. 2010). This scientific name has subsequently been accepted by the American Fisheries Society naming committee. The spiny dogfish has been classified as S. suckleyi in the SAFE since 2010, but both names may be used to be consistent with data sources, which still use S. acanthias (e.g., RACEBASE survey data).

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

Sharks North Pacific Groundfish Stock Assessments Alaska Groundfish Research