Recent Submissions

  • Re-identification of a lamnid shark embryo

    Mollet, Henry F.; Testi, Antonio D.; Compagno, Leonard J. V.; Francis, Malcolm P. (2002)
  • Properties of the residuals from two tag-recovery models

    Latour, Robert J.; Hoenig, John M.; Pollock, Kenneth H. (2002)
  • Age and growth of the swordfish (Xiphias gladius L.) in the waters around Taiwan determined from anal-fin rays

    Sun, Chi-Lu; Wang, Sheng-Ping; Yeh, Su-Zan (2002)
    Age and growth of the swordfish (Xiphias gladius) in Taiwan waters was studied from counts of growth bands on cross sections of the second ray of the first anal fin. Data on lower jaw fork length and weight, and samples of the anal fin of male and female swordfish were collected from three offshore and coastal tuna longline fishing ports on a monthly basis between September 1997 and March 1999. In total, 685 anal fins were collected and 627 of them (293 males and 334 females) were aged successfully. The lower jaw fork lengths of the aged individuals ranged from 83.4 to 246.6 cm for the females and from 83.3 to 206 cm for the males.The radii of the fin rays and growth bands on the cross sections were measured under a dissecting microscope equipped with an image analysis system. Trends in the monthly marginal increment ratio indicated that growth bands formed once a year. Thus, the age of each fish was deter-mined from the number of visible growth bands. Two methods were used to estimate and compare the standard and the generalized von Bertalanffy growth parameters for both males and females. The nonlinear least square estimates of the generalized von Bertalanffy growth parameters in method II, in which a power function was used to describe the relationship between ray radius and LJFL, were recommended as most acceptable. There were significant differences in growth parameters between males and females. The growth parameters estimated for females were the following: asymptotic length (L∞) = 300.66 cm, growth coefficient (K) = 0.040/yr, age at zero length (t0) = –0.75 yr, and the fitted fourth parameter (m) = –0.785. The growth parameters estimated for males were the following: asymptotic length (L∞) = 213.05 cm, growth coefficient (K) = 0.086/yr, age at zero length (t0) = –0.626 yr, and the fitted fourth parameter (m) = –0.768.
  • Distribution and co-occurrence of rockfishes (family: Sebastidae) over trawlable shelf and slope habitats of California and southern Oregon

    Williams, Erik H.; Ralston, Stephen (2002)
    The rockfishes of the sebastid genus Sebastes are a very important fishery resource off the coasts of California and southern Oregon. How-ever, many of the 54 managed stocks of west coast rockfish have recently reached historically low population levels, leading fishery managers to re-examine current management practices. Management of rockfish stocks as multispecies aggregates, as opposed to independent stocks within the ground-fish fishery, can be more desirable when nontargeted bycatch, discard, and management complexity are considered. Rockfish assemblage structure and species co-occurrences were determined by using data from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center triennial continental shelf bottom trawl survey. The weight of rockfish species in trawl catches was expressed as a catch-per-unit-of-effort (CPUE) statistic, from which species spatial distributions, overlaps, diversity, and richness were analyzed. Multidimensional scaling of transformed CPUE data was employed in indirect gradient and multivariate partitioning analyses to quantify assemblage relationships. Results indicated that rockfish distributions closely match the bathymetry of coastal waters. Indirect gradient analysis suggested that depth and latitude are the principal factors in structuring the spatial distributions of rockfish on trawlable habitat. In addition, four assemblages were identified through the joint evaluation of species’ distributions and multivariate partitioning analyses: 1) deep-water slope; 2) northern shelf; 3) southern shelf; and 4) nearshore. The slope, shelf, and near-shore groups are found in depth ranges of 200–500 m, 100–250 m, and 50–150 m, respectively. The division of northern and southern shelf assemblages occurs over a broad area between Cape Mendocino and Monterey Canyon. The results of this analysis are likely to have direct application in the management of rockfish stocks off the coasts of southern Oregon and California.
  • Sustainability of elasmobranchs caught as bycatch in a tropical prawn (shrimp) trawl fishery

    Stobutzki, Ilona C.; Miller, Margaret J.; Heales, Don S.; Brewer, David T. (2002)
    The bycatch of Australia’s northern prawn fishery (NPF) comprises 56 elasmobranch species (16 families). The impact of this fishery on the sustainability of these species has not been addressed. We obtained estimates of catch rates and the within-net survival of elasmobranchs. Carcharhinus tilstoni, C. dussumieri, Rhynchobatus djiddensis, and Himantura toshi represented 65% of the bycatch. For most species, >50% of individuals in the bycatch were immature, and some species recruited to the fishery at birth. For all species combined, 66% of individuals in the bycatch died in the trawl net.The relative sustainability of elasmobranchs caught as bycatch was examined by ranking species with respect to their susceptibility to capture and mortality due to prawn trawling and with respect to their capacity to recover once the population was depleted. The species that were least likely to be sustainable were four species of pristids, Dasyatis brevicaudata, and Himantura jenkinsii. These are bottom-associated batoids that feed on benthic organisms and are highly susceptible to capture in prawn trawls. The recovery capacity of these species was also low according to our criteria. Our results provide a valuable first step towards ensuring the sustainability of elasmobranchs that are caught as bycatch by highlighting species for management and research. The effectiveness of turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in reducing elasmobranch bycatch varied greatly among species but was generally not very effective because most of the captured species were small.
  • Movements, behavior, and habitat selection of bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus) in the eastern equatorial Pacific, ascertained through archival tags

    Schaefer, Kurt M.; Fuller, Daniel W. (2002)
    Ninety-six bigeye tuna (88– 134 cm fork length) were caught and released with implanted archival (electronic data storage) tags near fish-aggregating devices (FADs) in the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO) during April 2000. Twenty-nine fish were recaptured, and the data from twenty-seven tags were successfully downloaded and processed. Time at liberty ranged from 8 to 446 days, and data for 23 fish at liberty for 30 days or more are presented. The accuracy in geolocation estimates, derived from the light level data, is about 2 degrees in latitude and 0.5 degrees in longitude in this region. The movement paths derived from the filtered geolocation estimates indicated that none of the fish traveled west of 110°W during the period between release and recapture. The null hypothesis that the movement path is random was rejected in 17 of the 22 statistical tests of the observed movement paths. The estimated mean velocity was 117 km/d. The fish exhibited occasional deep-diving behavior, and some dives exceeded 1000 m where temperatures were less than 3°C. Evaluations of timed depth records, resulted in the discrimination of three distinct behaviors: 54.3% of all days were classified as unassociated (with a floating object) type-1 behavior, 27.7% as unassociated type-2 behavior, and 18.7% as behavior associated with a floating object. The mean residence time at floating objects was 3.1 d. Data sets separated into day and night were used to evaluate diel differences in behavior and habitat selection. When the fish were exhibiting unassociated type-1 behavior (diel vertical migrations), they were mostly at depths of less than 50 m (within the mixed layer) throughout the night, and during the day between 200 and 300 m and 13° and 14°C. They shifted their average depths in conjunction with dawn and dusk events, presumably tracking the deep-scattering layer as a foraging strategy. There were also observed changes in the average nighttime depth distributions of the fish in relation to moon phase.
  • An evaluation of back-calculation methodology using simulated otolith data

    Schirripa, Michael J. (2002)
    I simulated somatic growth and accompanying otolith growth using an individual-based bioenergetics model in order to examine the performance of several back-calculation methods. Four shapes of otolith radius-total length relations (OR-TL) were simulated. Ten different back-calculation equations, two different regression models of radius length, and two schemes of annulus selection were examined for a total of 20 different methods to estimate size at age from simulated data sets of length and annulus measurements. The accuracy of each of the twenty methodswas evaluated by comparing the back-calculated length-at-age and the true length-at-age. The best back-calculation technique was directly related to how well the OR-TL model fitted. When the OR-TL was sigmoid shaped and all annuli were used, employing a least squares linear regression coupled with a log-transformed Lee back-calculationequation (y-intercept corrected) resulted in the least error; when only the last annulus was used, employing adirect proportionality back-calculation equation resulted in the least error. When the OR-TL was linear, employinga functional regression coupled with the Lee back-calculation equation resulted in the least error when all annuli were used, and also when only the last annulus was used. If the OR-TL was exponentially shaped, direct substitution into the fitted quadratic equation resulted in the least error when all annuli were used, and when only thelast annulus was used. Finally, an asymptotically shaped OR-TL was best modeled by the individually corrected Weibull cumulative distribution function when all annuli were used, and when only the last annulus was used.
  • An examination of spatial and temporal genetic variation in walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) using allozyme, mitochondrial DNA, and microsatellite data

    Olsen, Jeffrey B.; Merkouris, Susan E.; Seeb, James E. (2002)
    We used allozyme, microsatellite, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) data to test for spatial and interannual genetic diversity in wall-eye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) from six spawning aggregations representing three geographic regions: Gulf of Alaska, eastern Bering Sea, and eastern Kamchatka. Interpopulation genetic diversity was evident primarily from the mtDNA and two allozyme loci (SOD-2*, MPI*). Permutation tests ˆindicated that FST values for most allozyme and microsatellite loci were not significantly greater than zero. The microsatellite results suggested that high locus polymorphism may not be a reliable indicator of power for detecting population differentiation in walleye pollock. The fact that mtDNA revealed population structure and most nuclear loci did not suggests that the effective size of most walleye pollock populations is large (genetic drift is weak) and migration is a relatively strong homogenizing force. The allozymes and mtDNA provided mostly concordant estimates of patterns of spatial genetic variation. These data showed significant genetic variation between North American and Asian populations. In addition, two spawning aggregations in the Gulf of Alaska, in Prince William Sound, and off Middleton Island, appeared genetically distinct from walleye pollock spawning in the Shelikof Strait and may merit management as a distinct stock. Finally, we found evidence of interannual genetic variation in two of three North American spawning aggregations, similar in magnitude to the spatial variation among North American walleye pol-lock. We suggest that interannual genetic variation in walleye pollock may be indicative of one or more of the following factors: highly variable reproductive success, adult philopatry, source-sink metapopulation structure, and intraannual variation (days) in spawning timing among genetically distinct but spatially identical spawning aggregates.
  • Integration of submersible transect data and high-resolution multibeam sonar imagery for a habitat-based groundfish assessment of Heceta Bank, Oregon

    Nasby-Lucas, Nicole M.; Embley, Bob W.; Hixon, Mark A.; Merle, Susan G.; Tissot, Brian N.; Wright, Dawn J. (2002)
    In the face of dramatic declines in groundfish populations and a lack of sufficient stock assessment information, a need has arisen for new methods of assessing groundfish populations. We describe the integration of seafloor transect data gathered by a manned submersible with high-resolution sonar imagery to produce a habitat-based stock assessment system for groundfish. The data sets used inthis study were collected from Heceta Bank, Oregon, and were derived from 42 submersible dives (1988–90) and a multibeam sonar survey (1998). The submersible habitat survey investigated seafloor topography and groundfish abundance along 30-minute transects over six predetermined stations and found a statistical relationship between habitat variability and groundfish distribution and abundance. These transects were analyzed in a geographic information system (GIS) by using dynamic segmentation to display changes in habitat along the transects. We used the submersible data to extrapolate fish abundance within uniform habitat patches over broad areas of the bank by means of a habitat classification based on the sonar imagery. After applying a navigation correction to the submersible-based habitat segments, a good correlation with major boundaries on the backscatter and topographic boundaries on the imagery were apparent. Extrapolation of the extent of uniform habitats was made in the vicinity of the dive stations and a preliminary stock assessment of several species of demersal fish was calculated. Such a habitat-based approach will allow researchers to characterize marine communities over large areas of the seafloor.
  • The reproductive biology of the porbeage shark (Lamna nasus) in the western North Atlantic Ocean

    Jensen, Christopher F.; Natanson, Lisa J.; Pratt Jr., Harold L.; Kohler, Nancy; Campana, Steven E. (2002)
    Reproductive organs from 393 male and 382 female porbeagles (Lamna nasus), caught in the western North Atlantic Ocean, were examined to determine size at maturity and reproductive cycle. Males ranged in size from 86 to 246 cm fork length (FL) and females ranged from 94 to 288 cm FL. Maturity in males was best described by an inflection in the relationship of clasper length to fork length when combined with clasper calcification. Males matured between 162 and 185 cm FL and 50% were mature at 174 cm FL. In females, all reproductive organ measurements related to body length showed a strong inflection around the size of maturity. Females matured between 210 and 230 cm FL and 50% were mature at 218 cm FL. After a protracted fall mating period (September–November), females give birth to an average of 4.0 young in spring (April−June). As in other lamnids, young are nourished through oophagy. Evidence from this study indicated a one-year reproductive cycle and gestation period lasting 8–9 months.
  • Length and age at maturity of female petrale sole (Eopsetta jordani) determined from samples collected prior to spawning aggregation

    Hannah, Robert W.; Parker, Steven J.; Fruh, Erica L. (2002)
    The problem of bias in female petrale sole age and length-at-maturity relationships caused by sampling from spawning aggregations was investigated. Samples were collected prior to aggregation, and histological methods were used to determine maturity status. Mature and immature fish were classified by inspecting oocytes for the presence of yolk in September, when substantial divergence in yolked and unyolked oocyte diameters had been observed. Comparison of macroscopic and microscopic assessment of maturity showed that maturity status cannot be determined accurately by using macroscopic inspection during the summer. Female petrale sole from the central Oregon coast were 50% mature at 33 cm and 5 years of age. Comparison of data from our study with data used in recent petrale sole stock assessments showed that both sampling bias and the use of samples from sea-sons when status cannot be accurately determined have likely caused errors in fitted maturity relationships.
  • Life history of South African snoek, Thyrsites atun (Pisces: Gempylidae): a pelagic predator of the Benguela ecosystem

    Griffiths, Marc H. (2002)
    Snoek (Thyrsites atun) is a valuable commercial species and an important predator of small pelagic fishes in the Benguela ecosystem. The South African population attains 50% sexual maturity at a fork length of ca.73.0 cm (3 years). Spawning occurs offshore during winter−spring, along the shelf break (150–400 m) of the western Agulhas Bank and the South African west coast. Prevailing currents transport eggs and larvae to a primary nursery ground north of Cape Columbine and to a secondary nursery area to the east of Danger Point; both shallower than 150 m. Juveniles remain on the nursery grounds until maturity, growing to between 33 and 44 cm in the first year (3.25 cm/month). Onshore– offshore distribution (between 5- and 150-m isobaths) of juveniles is deter-mined largely by prey availability and includes a seasonal inshore migration in autumn in response to clupeoid recruitment. Adults are found through-out the distribution range of the species, and although they move offshore to spawn—there is some southward dispersion as the spawning season progresses—longshore movement is apparently random and without a seasonal basis. Relative condition of both sexes declined dramatically with the onset of spawning. Mesenteric fat loss was, however, higher in females, despite a greater rate of prey consumption. Spatial differences in sex ratios and indices of prey consumption suggest that females on the west coast move inshore to feed between spawning events, but that those found farther south along the western Agulhas Bank remain on the spawning ground throughout the spawning season. This regional difference in female behavior is attributed to higher offshore abundance of clupeid prey on the western Agulhas Bank, as determined from both diet and rates of prey consumption.
  • The measurement error in marine survey catches: the bottom trawl case

    Hjellvik, Vidar; Godo, Olav Rune; Tjostheim, Dag (2002)
    We have formulated a model for analyzing the measurement error in marine survey abundance estimates by using data from parallel surveys (trawl haul or acoustic measurement). The measurement error is defined as the component of the variability that cannot be explained by covariates such as temperature, depth, bottom type, etc. The method presented is general, but we concentrate on bottom trawl catches of cod (Gadus morhua). Catches of cod from 10 parallel trawling experiments in the Barents Sea with a total of 130 paired hauls were used to estimate the measurement error in trawl hauls. Based on the experimental data, the measurement error is fairly constant in size on the logarithmic scale and is independent of location, time, and fish density. Compared with the total variability of the winter and autumn surveys in the Barents Sea, the measurement error is small (approximately 2–5%, on the log scale, in terms of variance of catch per towed distance). Thus, the cod catch rate is a fairly precise measure of fish density at a given site at a given time.
  • Bycatch of billfishes by the European tuna purse-seine fishery in the Atlantic Ocean

    Gaertner, Daniel; Menard, Frederic; Develter, Carol; Ariz, Javier (2002)
    Billfishes are a component of offshore ecosystems; thus it is important to quantify the impact of the tuna fishery on these species in the world’s ocean. The aim of this study was to assess the bycatch of billfishes generated by the tropical tuna purse-seine fishery in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Information on bycatch was collected by observers at sea during the European Union Bigeye Program. With a total of 62 observers’ trips, conducted on Spanish and French vessels between June 1997 and May 1999, this project is the biggest observer program ever carried out in the European tuna purse-seine fishery. This study showed that billfish bycatch by the purse seiners is very low (less than 0.021% of the total tuna catches and less than 10% of the total billfish catches currently reported). A Monte Carlo simulation was performed to account for some uncertainties in the fishing strategies of purse seiners operating in this ocean. One of the findings of this study indicated that the temporary moratorium on fishing with FADs (fish aggregating devices), adopted by the European purse-seine fishery in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, produced a decrease in incidental catches of marlins from 600–700 metric tons (t) to less than 300 t. In contrast, this trend was reversed for sailfishes, for which the bycatch increased from 25 t to 45 t. The difficulty of defining indices that express the conservation status in marine fishes and that gauge key ecosystem parameters and the need to promote an ecosystem approach for large-pelagic-resource management which takes into account biologic and socioeconomic criteria are briefly discussed.
  • Age and growth of the smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis) in the northwest Atlantic Ocean

    Conrath, Christina L.; Gelsleichter, James; Musick, John A. (2002)
    The northwest Atlantic population of smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis) ranges from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to South Carolina. Although M. canis is seasonally abundant inthis region, very little is known about important aspects of its biology, such as growth and reproductive rates. Inthe early 1990s, commercial fishery landings of smooth dogfish dramatically increased on the east coast of theUnited States. This study investigated growth rates of the east coast M. canis population through analysis of growthpatterns in vertebral centra. Marginal increment analysis, estimates of precision, and patterns in seasonal growthsupported the use of vertebrae to age these sharks. Growth bands in vertebral samples were used to estimate ages for 894 smooth dogfish. Age-length data were used to determine von Bertalanffy growth parameters for this population: K = 0.292/yr, L∞ = 123.57 cm, and t0 = –1.94 years for females,and K = 0.440/yr, L∞ = 105.17 cm, and t0 = –1.52 years for males. Males matured at two or three years of age and females matured between four and seven years of age. The oldest age estimate for male and female samples was ten and sixteen years, respectively.
  • Hybridization between two serranids, the coney (Cephalopholis fulva) and the creole-fish (Paranthias furcifer), at Bermuda

    Bostrom, Meredith A.; Collette, Bruce B.; Luckhurst, Brian E.; Reece, Kimberly S.; Graves, John E. (2002)
    Intergeneric hybridization between the epinepheline serranids Cephalopholis fulva and Paranthias furcifer in waters off Bermuda was investigated by using morphological and molecular characters. Putative hybrids, as well as members of each presumed parent species, were analyzed for 44 morphological characters and screened for genetic variation at 16 nuclear allozyme loci, two nuclear (n)DNA loci, and three mitochondrial (mt)DNA gene regions. Four of 16 allozyme loci, creatine kinase (CK-B*), fumarase (FH*), isocitrate dehydrogenase (ICDH-S*), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH-B*), were unique in C. fulva and P. furcifer. Restriction fragments of two nuclear DNA intron regions, an actin gene intron and the second intron in the S7 ribosomal protein gene, also exhibited consistent differences between the two presumed parent species. Restriction fragments of three mtDNA regions—ND4, ATPase 6, and 12S/16S ribosomal RNA—were analyzed to identify maternal parentage of putative hybrids. Both morphological data and nuclear genetic data were found to be consistent with the hypothesis that the putative hybrids were the result of interbreeding between C. fulva and P. furcifer. Mean values of 38 morphological characters were different between presumed parent species, and putative hybrids were intermediate to presumed parent species for 33 of these characters. A principal component analysis of the morphological and meristic data was also consistent with hybridization between C. fulva and P. furcifer. Thirteen of 15 putative hybrids were heterozygous at all diagnostic nuclear loci, consistent with F1 hybrids. Two putative hybrids were identified as post-F1 hybrids based on homozygosity at one nuclear locus each. Mitochondrial DNA analysis showed that the maternal parent of all putative hybrid individuals was C. fulva. A survey of nuclear and mitochondrial loci of 57 C. fulva and 37 P. furcifer from Bermuda revealed no evidence of introgression between the parent species mediated by hybridization.
  • Effects of experimental harvest on red sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus) in northern Washington

    Carter, Sarah K.; VanBlaricom, Glenn R. (2002)
    Commercial harvest of red sea urchins began in Washington state in 1971. Harvests peaked in the late 1980s and have since declined substantially in Washington and other areas of the U.S. west coast. We studied effects of experimental harvest on red sea urchins in San Juan Channel (SJC), a marine reserve in northern Washing-ton. We recorded changes in density and size distribution of sea urchin populations resulting from three levels of experimental harvest: 1) annual size-selective harvest (simulating cur-rent commercial urchin harvest regulations), 2) monthly complete (non–size selective) harvest, and 3) no harvest (control) sites. We also examined re-colonization rates of harvested sites. The red sea urchin population in SJC is composed of an accumulation of large, old individuals. Juvenile urchins represent less than 1% of the population. Lower and upper size limits for commercial harvest protect 5% and 45% of the population, respectively. Complete harvest reduced sea urchin densities by 95%. Annual size-selective harvest significantly decreased sea urchin densities by 67% in the first year and by 47% in the second year. Two years of size-selective harvest significantly altered the size distribution of urchins, decreasing the density of legal-size urchins. Recolonization of harvested sites varied seasonally and occurred primarily through immigration of adults. Selective harvest sites were recolonized to 51% and 38% of original densities, respectively, six months after the first and second annual harvests. Yields declined substantially in the second year of size-selective harvest because of the fishing down of the population and because of low recolonization rates of harvested sites. We recommend that managers consider the potential efficacy of marine harvest refuges and reevaluate the existing upper and lower size limits for commercial harvest to improve long-term management of the sea urchin fishery in Washington.

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