, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 475-488,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 03 Nov 2010

The first demersal trawl survey of benthic fish and invertebrates in the Beaufort Sea since the late 1970s


This study represents the first demersal trawl survey of marine fishes and invertebrates in offshore waters of the Beaufort Sea since 1977. Species composition, distribution, and abundance of demersal fish and benthic invertebrates were assessed with standard methods and demersal trawl gear by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. Fishes made up 6% of the total catch weight, and invertebrates made up the remaining 94% of the catch weight. A total of 32 species of fish were identified, two taxa were identified to genus and one to family, and 174 taxa of invertebrates were identified. The most abundant demersal fishes were polar cod (Boreogadus saida), eelpouts (Lycodes spp.), Bering flounder (Hippoglossoides robustus), and walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma). The most abundant invertebrates were notched brittle stars (Ophiura sarsi), snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio), mussels (Musculus spp.), and the mudstar (Ctenodiscus crispatus). We documented or confirmed extension to the known ranges of four species of fishes: walleye pollock, Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), festive snailfish (Liparis marmoratus), and eyeshade sculpin (Nautichthys pribilovius). We also documented the presence of commercial-sized snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio), which has not previously been recorded in the North American Arctic.