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Midwater Assessment & Conservation Engineering (MACE) Program

Walleye Pollock Survey

On 4 June 2004, the Midwater Assessment and Conservation Engineering (MACE) program began an echo integration-trawl survey of walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) on the eastern Bering Sea shelf aboard the NOAA ship Miller Freeman. The survey began in Kodiak, Alaska, and will cover the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) waters from Port Moller, Alaska, to the U.S./Russia Convention Line. Also, the United States has applied for but not yet received permission from the Russian government to survey in the Russian EEZ. The survey will end on August 3 in Kodiak. Acoustic data and trawl catch information collected during the survey will be used to determine the distribution, biomass, and biological composition of walleye pollock on the eastern Bering Sea shelf and slope. Other cruise objectives are the collection of pollock target strength data, calibration of the scientific acoustic systems, testing of an opening/closing coded system controlled with an acoustic link, and the collection of physical oceanographic data.

The first leg covered the Bering Sea shelf west to about the Pribilof Islands. Preliminary results show that the majority of the pollock are between 40 and 60 cm fork length with a modal length of 44 cm. Few pollock less than 40 cm were observed.

By Michael Guttormsen


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