The SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division concluded the 30th year of an annual midwater trawl survey for juvenile rockfish and other pelagic micronekton on June 19th, after 35 days at sea on the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada.
Preliminary results data for the 2012 survey indicate that micronekton species assemblages for 2011 and 2012 were those associated with higher productivity typical of cool, high transport conditions; with high catches of juvenile rockfish, market squid and krill. Catches of coastal pelagic and mesopelagic fishes was lower, likely representing distributional shifts in coastal waters.
Notably, in 2012 the abundance of several types of small gelatinous zooplankton was extraordinarily high, particularly that of several species of salps (pelagic tunicates). The abundance was sufficiently great that the mass of gelatinous zooplankton damaged sampling gear, and resulted in trawl stations being abandoned for the first time in the 30 year history of this survey.
Contact: SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division, Groundfish Analysis Team
(June 25, 2012)