Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8854
Title: Dynamic population trends observed in the deep-living Pacific flatnose, Antimora microlepis, on the U.S. West Coast
Author: Peter H. Frey, A. A. Keller, V. Simon
Publication Year: 2017
Journal: Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research
Keywords: Pacific flatnose,non-target species,deepwater

As fisheries managers attempt to incorporate ecosystem-based considerations into decision making, it is important to understand the role that non-target species play in the ecosystems that support commercial fisheries. For some deep-water groundfishes, basic information on biology and population dynamics is extremely limited. This study presents findings on the spatial distribution, population structure, and relative abundance of the Pacific flatnose, Antimora microlepis, using data collected from 2003 to 2015 by the Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s West Coast Groundfish Bottom Trawl Survey (WCGBTS). We observed a 67% increase in mean fork-length over the study period reflecting the advancement of strong year-classes from the early 2000s that currently dominate the population as a whole. Catch-weighted depth increased significantly as these cohorts migrated to deeper waters of the continental slope. Although catch per unit effort remained relatively constant, this demographic shift suggests that episodic recruitment may affect the resilience of this stock to fishing mortality over time. A notable decrease in the percentage of females observed after 2012 seemed to indicate the movement of large, older females to depths beyond the 1280 m limit of the survey. Otolith weight provided a useful proxy for age in growth models for this species.

Theme: Ecosystem approach to improve management of marine resources
Foci: Provide scientific support for the implementation of ecosystem-based management