Complex trawl surveys were conducted in the upper epipelagic zone of the western Bering Sea and adjacent Pacific waters in the summer and fall seasons of 2002–2006. The abundance of small nekton (micronekton) was estimated using two independent methods: traditional trawling and a mathematical model of selective feeding by fish. According to the trawl data, total micronekton density varied from 1 to 158 (average 40) mg/m3 on the northwestern Bering Sea shelf and from 6 to 151 (37) mg/m3 in deep-water areas of the southwestern Bering Sea and adjacent Pacific waters. According to model calculations, micronekton density was higher—72–193 (141) mg/m3 on the shelf and 78–507 (228) mg/m3 in the deep-water part of the studied area. Both trawl and model data showed that small nekton on the northwestern shelf mostly consisted of larval and juvenile walleye pollock, as well as small fish species, such as capelin and Pacific sand lance. In the deepwater areas, mesopelagic fish and squid (northern lampfish, northern smoothtongue, and boreopacific gonate squid), which migrate to the surface at night, juvenile Atka mackerel, and shortarm gonate squid dominated among micronekton. The advantages and disadvantages of both the trawl and model methods for calculating the abundance of small fish and squid were considered. Comparison of abundance estimates for mass fish species, obtained through trawl and model methods, enabled us to analyze trawl catchability coefficients and propose a more differentiated division of micronekton into size classes than had been done earlier. A function that characterizes the dependence of the catchability coefficient (CC) on body length was offered for juvenile Atka mackerel. This equation can be also used for evaluation of CC for other fishes that have similar size and behavior.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 12, 2010
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