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

Last years young hake

By Sandy Parker-Stetter
January 15, 2016

Fish are often referred to by their “age” relative to when they hatched.  An age-0 fish has not yet reached its 1st birthday (hatchday?), an age-1 fish hasn’t yet reached its 2nd birthday, and so on.  For Pacific hake, age-1 and age-2 fish are considered to be “juveniles.”  Even though the age-1s and age-2s aren’t spawning yet, and aren’t the target of this survey, knowing where juveniles are is still important information if we ultimately want to count fish.

During summer 2015, many people remarked on the high number of age-1 hake.  While planning the winter 2016 survey, we wondered where we would find those age-1s, who would now be (almost) age-2s.  There are many hypotheses on where juveniles hang out during winter, but no one really knows.  Would they be found with the spawning adults or somewhere else?

Newsflash!  We have now picked up the (almost) age-2 juveniles in four midwater trawls.  They have been in diffuse layers, strong schools, and somewhere in between.  At least once we were sure that they would be the spawning adults we’re looking for, but were not!  Because the schools can be quite small catching them has been tricky, but the fishing crew is doing a great job in spite of the wind, waves, and rain.  In the catches we’re also seeing a handful of other fish species, such as rockfish, and some squid.


Age-2 juvenile hake (Photo credit Sandy Parker-Stetter)

Tagged: Winter hake survey

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