Testing pop-up satellite tags as a tool for identifying critical habitat for Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) in the Gulf of Alaska

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Abstract

To maintain healthy commercial and sport fisheries for Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis), critical habitat must be defined by determining life history patterns on a daily and seasonal basis. Pop-up satellite archival transmitting (PSAT) tags provide a fisheries-independent method of collecting environmental preference data (depth and ambient water temperature) as well as daily geolocation estimates based on ambient light conditions. In this study, 14 adult halibut (107-165 cm FL) were tagged and released with PSAT tags in and around Resurrection Bay, Alaska. Commercial fishermen recovered two tags, while five tags transmitted data to ARGOS satellites. Horizontal migration was not consistent among fish as three halibut remained in the vicinity of release while four traveled up to 358 km from the release site. Vertical migration was not consistent among fish and over time, but they spent most their time between 150-350 m. The minimum and maximum depths reached by any of the halibut were 2m and 502m, respectively. The fish preferred water temperatures of roughly 6 °C while experiencing ambient temperatures between 4.3 °C and 12.2 °C. Light attenuation with depth prevented existing geolocation software and light sensing hardware from accurately estimating geoposition, however, information from temperature, depth, ocean bathymetry, and pop-off locations provided inference on fish movement in the study area. PSAT tags were a viable tool for determining daily and seasonal behavior and identifying critical halibut habitat, which will aid fisheries managers in future decisions regarding commercial and sport fishing regulations.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Other Report
Title Testing pop-up satellite tags as a tool for identifying critical habitat for Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) in the Gulf of Alaska
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council
Publisher location Anchorage, AK
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 14 p.
Public Comments Final Report: Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Restoration Project 01478
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Gulf of Alaska
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