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July-Aug-Sept 2011
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Groundfish & Shellfish Assessment Programs

Thirtieth Annual Eastern Bering Sea Continental Shelf Bottom Trawl Survey

figure 1, see caption
Figure 1.  Sampled survey stations by vessel for the 2011 eastern Bering Sea shelf bottom trawl survey.

The summer of 2011 marked the 30th in a time series of annual standard bottom trawl surveys which are an integral part of managing and sustaining commercial fish and crab populations in the Bering Sea.

From 1 June to 5 August 2011, scientists from the AFSC, ADF&G, International Pacific Halibut Commission, and University of Washington participated in the eastern Bering Sea continental shelf bottom trawl survey aboard the chartered fishing vessels Aldebaran and Alaska Knight, which conducted scientific bottom trawling operations at 376 stations over a standard survey area covering 143,705 square nautical miles (Fig. 1).The science crew processed and recorded the catch from each trawl catch by identifying, sorting, and weighing all the different crab and groundfish species and then measuring samples of each species.

At the conclusion of the survey, scientists carefully validated the data collected on fishing effort, catch rates, and biological characteristics of the fish and crab populations (e.g., size distribution, age, growth rates, diet, etc.) in preparation to generate fishery-independent estimates of geographic and depth distribution, population size and biomass, and age composition of the various species. Supplementary biological and oceanographic data collected on the bottom trawl survey will improve the understanding of life history for groundfish and crab species and the ecological and physical factors affecting their distribution and abundance.

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