Shelf, Slope, and Pelagic Surveys

PSRC staff processing samples

To support ongoing NMFS shelf, slope, and pelagic survey efforts and obtain samples necessary for the broad suite of life history, genetic, and taxonomic studies we are engaged in, the PSRC has developed agreements to work with NMFS scientists from the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC), Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC), and Southwest Fisheries Science Center Santa Cruz Laboratory (SCL). PSRC personnel in cooperation with the NMFS SCL have initiated a detailed biological study of central California elasmobranchs. Since September, 2002, entire catches of skates and catsharks have been retained from groundfish longline and trawl surveys in Monterey Bay, CA. Detailed measurements, wet weights, reproductive tracts, tissue samples, parasites, vertebrae for age and growth estimation, are collected for further analyses. The primary species being examined are the sandpaper skate (Bathyraja kincaidii), big skate (Raja binoculata), California skate (R. inornata), longnose skate (R. rhina), brown catshark (Apristurus brunneus), and filetail catshark (Parmaturus xaniurus).

In cooperation with the NMFS Northwest Fisheries Science Center, PSRC researchers have assisted in their annual continental slope surveys conducted between Washington and southern California. During the 2002 and 2003 surveys, we obtained several uncommon species including the deepsea skate (B. abyssicola), Aleutian skate (B. aleutica), roughtail skate (B. trachura), brown catshark (A. brunneus), longnose catshark (A. kampae), and Pacific black dogfish (Centroscyllium nigrum) which were collected and shipped to the PSRC for further investigation. PSRC personnel also participated in a research cruise sponsored by NMFS AFSC along the eastern Bering Sea slope in June and July 2002. Biological data on 10 poorly known species of skates were collected. In addition, tissue samples were saved for future genetic analysis.