Northwest Fisheries Science Center

The Main Deck

Acoustic and trawl adventures in the Northeast Pacific

This portal tracks the research and sea-going activities of the Fisheries Engineering and Acoustic Technologies (FEAT) Team from NOAA¿s Northwest Fisheries Science Center.  Follow us as we use acoustics, trawling, and oceanographic sampling to learn about the Northeast Pacific Ocean.

Back deck of Bell M. Shimada
Acoustic echogram of hake
trawl catch

Big hake, little hake

By Sandy Parker-Stetter, NWFSC
February 6, 2017

So far, we have completed three trawls during Leg 2. This brings our total for the survey to six. Go, Leg 2!

Our first Leg 2 trawl was about 125 nmi offshore of Morro Bay, over 4,000 m bottom depth. We caught hake with an average length of 43 cm and these fish were likely 3 or 4 years old. We had previously seen fish of this size 120 nmi offshore of San Francisco during Leg 1.

age-1 hake
One year old (i.e. Age-1) Pacific hake from a trawl west of Point Conception. Credit: Sandy Parker-Stetter, NWFSC

The second and third trawls of Leg 2 were just west of Point Conception. One was on a thin layer (<20 m top to bottom) of fish up in the water column. The other was on an aggregation of fish that was near the bottom. Acoustically these two fishing locations looked very different, but both trawls revealed the identity of these fish to be 1 year olds (21 cm and 20 cm mean lengths for the two trawls).

In June 2016, the Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s Prerecruit Survey (Lead Ric Brodeur, Fish Ecology Division) would have caught these 1 year olds when they were age-0s. Ric and his team had been surprised at how far north they found age-0s in 2016, and here we are catching them so far south. 

In a few days we will start working our way north again and maybe we’ll find more of our 1 year olds. If we do find the age-1s up north, then perhaps they don’t (always) do a substantial southward winter migration. But, if we don’t find age-1 hake when we go north, then maybe these little fish move longer distances than we think!

Tagged: Hake, Acoustics, Winter hake research, FEAT, FRAM, Oceanography, Ecosystem, California Current Large Marine Ecosystem, CCLME, El Niño, La Niña, Climate

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