Changing ocean conditions and subsequent shifts in forage fish communities have been linked to numerical declines of some piscivorous marine birds and mammals in the North Pacific. However, limited information about fish communities is available for some regions, including nearshore waters of the eastern Bering Sea, where many piscivores reside. We determined proximate composition and energetic value of a suite of potential forage fish collected from an estuary on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, during 2002 and 2003. Across species, energy density ranged from 14.5 to 20.7 kJ g-1 dry mass and varied primarily as a function of lipid content. Total energy content was strongly influenced by body length and we provide species-specific predictive models of total energy based on this relationship; some models may be improved further by incorporating year and date effects. Based on observed energetic differences, we conclude that variation in fish size, quantity, and species composition of the prey community could have important consequences for piscivorous predators. ?? 2006 Springer-Verlag.
Additional Publication Details
Proximate composition, energetic value, and relative abundance of prey fish from the inshore eastern Bering Sea: Implications for piscivorous predators