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July-Aug-Sept 2011
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Alaska Fishery and Survey Data on the Web

Data from the AFSC's longline survey and groundfish catch from the NMFS Alaska Regional Office (AKRO) Catch Accounting System (CAS) and the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program are now available online through the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission's Alaska Fisheries Information Network (AKFIN;

AKFIN's mission is to consolidate multiple fishery data sources so that managers and scientists can access data efficiently and in formats specific to their needs. In cooperation with the Marine Ecology and Stock Assessment program (MESA) at ABL, the AKRO, and the Observer Program, AKFIN has developed reports that make the data sources we regularly use available in one central location. These reports were developed specifically to fit our data needs.

Users of observer and longline survey data no longer need to use a special connection to access data, nor do they need to join tables to get, for instance, specimen and haul data in one data table. AKFIN works directly with managers of the CAS, the longline survey, and the observer databases to ensure up-to-date feeds. As new needs arise, reports can easily be adapted and created.

To create an account for accessing these reports, contact Robert Ryznar at
Contact Cara Rodgveller with questions about the web-accessible reports (, 907-789-6052).

By Cara Rodgveller

Sablefish Movement Analysis

James Murphy gave a presentation titled "Sex and Age-Specific Movements of Sablefish in Alaskan Waters" at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society in Seattle, Washington on 7 September. Sablefish have been tagged annually during longline surveys in the Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, and the slope of the eastern Bering Sea shelf since the late 1970s. Almost all tagged sablefish are captured by longline and trawl fisheries with a small number captured by research surveys. Most recoveries occur in Alaskan waters with some occurring in British Columbia and a few along the West Coast of the United States.

Murphy gave an overview of the ABL sablefish tagging program and presented preliminary results of ongoing movement modeling efforts. In 1991, ABL scientists Jon Heifetz and Jeff Fujioka published a sablefish movement model utilizing longline survey tagging data. Heifetz and Fujioka analyzed sablefish movement based on size-at-release, and Murphy's current analysis extended their work by adding sex and age-structure to the model. At time of tagging, the sex and age of the sablefish are not known, but these can be assigned by utilizing sex-specific length and age data collected during the surveys. Most sablefish recoveries are reported back to ABL without any sex data however; only those recoveries with sex information were utilized in the analysis.

Preliminary results indicate moderate to substantial differences in movement patterns between ages. Younger sablefish tend to move towards or remain in western areas of the Gulf of Alaska, while older sablefish tend to move towards or remain in eastern areas. Whether sex-specific differences in movements occur is uncertain and requires further analysis. These findings are similar to the length-based results of Heifetz and Fujioka but can be readily utilized in future spatial age-structured assessment models.

By James Murphy

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