Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin Issues, Vol.6 No. 1 - Summer 1999

Assessment of Red King Crabs Following Offshore Placer Gold Mining in Norton Sound

Stephen C. Jewett - Vol. 6(1):1-18. 1999.

In a 4-year study I assessed impacts of offshore placer gold mining on adult red king crabs Paralithodes camtschaticus in the northeastern Bering Sea near Nome, Alaska. From June to October 1986-1990, nearshore mining with a bucket-line dredge to depths of 9 to 20 m removed 1.5 km2 and about 5.5 X 106 m3 of substrate. Crabs were offshore of the study area when mining occurred but were in the mining vicinity during the ice-covered months of March and April, which was the primary time data on crab abundance and prey were obtained. Comparisons between mined and unmined stations revealed that mining had a negligible effect on crabs. Crab catches, size, sex, quantity, and contribution of most prey groups in stomachs were similar between mined and unmined areas. However, a few ROV observations indicated that crab abundance was lower in mined areas. Also, plants (mainly eelgrass Zostera marina) and hydroids, which accumulated in mining depressions, were more common in crab stomachs from mined areas. The preponderance of food consumed by crabs throughout the mined and unmined regions was unidentified fishes. Mining effects were analyzed in the context of the small size of the area disturbed, the dynamic nature of the benthic habitat in the region, and the opportunistic feeding habits of the crabs.

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Mass Molting of Tanner Crabs Chionoecetes bairdi in a Southeast Alaska Estuary

Robert P. Stone - Vol. 6(1):19-28. 1999.

A spring migration of Tanner crabs Chionoecetes bairdi into a shallow, glacially-influenced cove to molt en masse was studied in 1992 and 1993. An estimated 11,500 crabs molted in a 0.034 km2 area of shallow (+0.6 m to -17.4 m) water in 1992. Over 2,400 carapaces from intact exuviae were collected by scuba divers in a 100 X 70 m section of the molting area. Molting in both years was restricted to a small area of the cove even though oceanographic conditions and habitat were similar throughout the cove. Crabs were 97% males and had probably molted within the previous year. Approximately 30% of the crabs would have recruited to the commercial fishery after this molt. Chelae measured from exuviae in spring 1993 indicated the migration consisted almost entirely of small-clawed crabs.

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Energy Contents of Whole Body, Ovaries, and Ova from Pre-Spawning Pacific Herring

A. J. Paul and J. M. Paul - Vol. 6(1):29-34. 1999.

The energy content of whole bodies (WBEC), ovaries (OEC), and ova taken from ripe Pacific herring Clupea pallasi collected from one site in Prince William Sound, Alaska was measured to determine how female nutritional status influenced ova energy content and OEC. The average female WBEC was 23.86 kJ·g-1 dry weight (SD = ±1.19), and the average energy content of one ovum was 8.1 J (SD = ±0.9). The WBEC of spawning females varied considerably. No clear relationship was found between either female body weight or WBEC and the mean energy content of ova or OEC·g-1. Well-fed females, those identified by high WBEC, did not have a higher average energy content in their ova. Apparently Pacific herring allocate energy to somatic growth rather than enriching OEC·g-1. This strategy would improve their chances to successfully propagate because bigger females spawn more eggs.

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Growth of Juvenile Arrowtooth Flounders from Kachemak Bay, Alaska

Kenneth A. Bouwens, A. J. Paul, and Ronald L. Smith - Vol. 6(1):35-40. 1999.

Growth rates, morphometric conversions, and otolith surface-pattern formation are reported and discussed for age 0-2 arrowtooth flounders Atheresthes stomias from Kachemak Bay, Alaska. Absolute growth rates averaged 0.20-0.24 mm/d or 0.17 g/d. Instantaneous growth rates averaged 0.17%/d in length and 0.49%/d in weight. The mean standard lengths for age-0, -1, and -2 flounders were 67, 108, and 211 mm. Annuli form sometime between February and May; the first annulus on the otolith was often indistinct.

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Length at and Timing of Hatching and Settlement for Arrowtooth Flounders in the Gulf of Alaska

Kenneth A. Bouwens, Ronald L. Smith, A. J. Paul, and William Rugen - Vol. 6(1):41-48. 1999.

Structures on the otoliths of arrowtooth flounders Atheresthes stomias have been identified that correspond with hatching and settlement. Analysis of length frequency profiles and back-calculation of otolith dimensions suggested that arrowtooth flounders hatch at a mean standard length (SL) of 8-9 mm. They are planktonic for 145 d, and become benthic at 40-43 mm SL. Averaged over 14 years, the mean dates for hatching and settlement were April 15 and September 8, respectively. The hatch and settlement periods were protracted, with a 95% prediction interval (PI) of 37 days for each period. This wide 95% PI in hatch and settlement dates is a function of a long hatching period, not year-to-year fluctuations in hatch date.

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A Pelagic Basslet Howella sherborni (Family Acropomatidae) off of the Aleutian Islands

Morgan S. Busby and James Wilder Orr - Vol. 6(1):49-53. 1999.

An adult male pelagic basslet Howella sherborni was collected in a bottom trawl during a research survey in June 1993, south of Unimak Island, Alaska. This represents a northwestward extension of the known range by approximately 2,656 km (1,415 km north in latitude). We provide information on the size, morphology, and diagnostic features of this and other specimens of Howella collected in the equatorial and north Pacific. The taxonomic status and systematics of the genus Howella are discussed.

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Milestones for the Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin

Susan M. Shirley - Vol. 6(1):54. 1999.
(No Abstract) Full Editorial:

This year as we enter a new era, we naturally reflect on past accomplishments, gauge progress, and set future goals. This is also the time to commemorate two milestones for the Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin. The 1999 volume marks its 5th year of publication. Congratulations to the authors, reviewers, editorial board, and staff of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game who helped to make the journal a success.

With the new millennium also comes change for the Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin. The founding editor, Robert L. Wilbur, retired from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in December 1998. Before becoming Scientific Publications Editor in 1986, Bob served as Statewide Enhancement Harvest Coordinator from 1976 through 1984, and Statewide Herring and Shellfish Management Coordinator until 1986. His long tenure with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and his commitment to producing high-quality scientific publications are laudable. We wish Bob continued success and enjoyment in his future endeavors.

As the new editor of the Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. My biological research experience and knowledge of Alaska fisheries will serve as a good foundation for the challenges of editing the Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin. I have B.S. and M.S. degrees in zoology and physiology, with an emphasis on physiology of aquatic organisms. When I came to Alaska in 1982, I worked at the University of Alaska Juneau on salmon genetics and biochemistry projects as a research technician. Later, I became a research associate at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Juneau Center for Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, studying and publishing on early life history and larval biology of king crabs and Dungeness crabs in Southeast Alaska. I was a research analyst for 9 years with the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission before joining the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in October 1999.

Alaska's fisheries continue to provide important recreational, subsistence, and commercial opportunities in the state. State-of-the-art scientific methods and analyses are crucial for responsible management, development, enhancement, rehabilitation, conservation, and wise use of our natural resources. Alaska is fortunate to have many internationally recognized scientists and managers who make significant contributions to fisheries research and management. We also benefit from fisheries research conducted in Alaska by scientists from other places. Effective communication is paramount for exchange of their techniques, conclusions, and data, and the Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin is a valuable forum for disseminating this information.

As we enter a new phase for the Alaska Fishery Research Bulletin, we are committed to supporting the journal. We will continue to produce a professional and informative journal with regional as well as universal perspectives. We will strive to make this and other publications of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game more visible and accessible online and through the use of electronic media. I look forward to receiving your manuscripts, and working with you to maintain the high standards of this important fishery journal.

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