Mapping marine benthic habitat in the Gulf of Alaska: Geological habitat, fish distributions, and fishing intensity

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Shotwell, S. K., Heifetz, J., Courtney, D. L., & Greene, H. G. (2007). Mapping marine benthic habitat in the Gulf of Alaska: Geological habitat, fish distributions, and fishing intensity. Special Paper - Geological Association of Canada, (47), 349-367.
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TitleMapping marine benthic habitat in the Gulf of Alaska: Geological habitat, fish distributions, and fishing intensity
AuthorsS. Shotwell, J. Heifetz, D. Courtney, H. Greene
AbstractIn 2001, multibeam bathymetry and backscatter data were collected from the Portlock Bank area of the central Gulf of Alaska, in the vicinity of extensive bottom-trawl and longline fisheries for groundfish. The area mapped was about 790 km2 of the outer continental shelf and upper slope. The objective of this study was to characterize benthic habitat using high-resolution bathymetty and backscatter and integrate various sources of biological data with these habitats. Existing biological data from the mapped area was assembled and evaluated, includingfish counts from piloted sub-mersible dives, fishery-independent bottom-trawl survey data, and commercial bottom-trawl fishery catch data. Habitat classification derived from mapping data indicated the presence of 22 different benthic habitats. Although biological data were limited on the survey site, measurements of fish species occurrence and density provided some general conclusions about fish species distributions over many benthic habitats. A density surface of the commercial fishing trawl hauls was created over the mapped area, which enabled the examination of patterns in fishing intensity by habitat type. For more quantitative measurements of fish-species distributions, a directed survey is recommended that collects biological samples in each of the established benthic habitats. Other properties within the area, such as oceanographic data and predator/prey fields, may also influence fish distributions and should be considered.
JournalSpecial Paper - Geological Association of Canada
Date2007
Issue47
Start page349
End page367
ISSN0072-1042
Subjectsbackscatter, bathymetric survey, benthic environment, bottom trawling, habitat type, mapping method, remote sensing, seafloor mapping, Gulf of Alaska, Pacific Ocean
NoteOceanography

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