The Alaska Fisheries Science Center has annually completed a bottom longline survey in Alaska since 1978. The survey samples seafloor waters of the upper continental slope in the Gulf of Alaska (all years), the Bering Sea (odd years) and the central and eastern Aleutian Islands (even years). In 2018, the 3-month survey will sample a total of 74 stations from Dixon Entrance to Amchitka Pass, covering about 2,130 miles along the Alaskan coast. In total, 532,800 hooks will be deployed on 736 miles of groundline.
The primary objective of the survey is to determine the relative abundance of sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) and a few other groundfish species. Catch data, including species composition, lengths, and ages are utilized for determining stock assessments. A subsample of selected groundfish are tagged and released to determine movement patterns and distributions.
To conduct the survey, a commercial longliner is chartered by NOAA Fisheries to take scientists out to the fishing grounds. Longlines are set in the same locations each year on survey legs that are about two weeks long. The vessel retains most of the catch and freezes it at sea. At the end of the survey, the vessel sells the fish which offsets the cost of the charter.
Meet the Blogger
Grant Voirol is an Ernest F. Hollings NOAA Scholar who is originally from Indiana but relocated to Florida to study Marine Science and Biology. He is currently an intern in the Shark Research and Conservation Laboratory at the University of Miami where he studies behavioral and movement ecology and conservation biology of sharks in South Florida. As part of his Hollings Scholarship work, Grant is assisting Dr. Cindy Tribuzio at the Auke Bay Laboratory in Juneau analyzing seasonal habitat use of Pacific spiny dogfish. In addition, Grant is getting a first-hand look at the sights, sounds, and smells of Leg 1 of the NOAA Fisheries's Alaska Longline Survey taking place along the Aleutian Island Archipelago.