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Cruise No: MF98-05A
FOCI No: MF9802


General geographic areas: Shelikof Strait and Bering Sea.


6 April 1998: depart Kodiak, Alaska
12 April 1998: arrive Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Participating organizations:

NOAA - Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC)
NOAA - Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL)


 Chief Scientist  Affiliation
 Arthur W. Kendall, Jr.  AFSC
 Participating Scientists  Affiliation
 Debbie Blood  AFSC
 Jay Clark  AFSC
 Bill Rugen  AFSC
 Elaina Jorgensen  JIASO
 Robert Schabetsberger  University of Salzburg, Austria


Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (FOCI) is an effort by NOAA scientists to understand the physical and biological processes that determine recruitment variability of commercially valuable finfish and shellfish stocks in Alaskan waters. At present, FOCI consists of a Shelikof Strait walleye pollock project (western Gulf of Alaska), and a NOAA Coastal Ocean Program (COP) project: Southeast Bering Sea Carrying Capacity. The COP project is a collaborative efforts by NOAA and academic scientists to understand the affects of abiotic and biotic variability on the SE Bering Sea ecosystem.


Shelikof Strait:

1. Biological oceanographic observations at 4 stations on Line 8, and at 2 Mooring stations (Napp, Stabeno).

2. 1 midwater trawl for spawning pollock.

A. On-board incubation of eggs at low temperature (Blood).

B. Incubate eggs to bring to Seattle for rearing (Porter, Olla).

C. Obtain fin-clip samples (Canino).

D. Obtain eggs from 4 single pair spawnings to return to Seattle (Canino).

3. 2 live Tucker tows for pollock eggs to bring back to Seattle (Bailey).

Southeast Bering Sea Shelf:

4. Bongo tows and EK500 survey to locate area of pollock spawning/egg concentration over southeast shelf (Kendall).

5. Depth-stratified Tucker trawl tows to determine pollock eggs vertical distribution and to obtain pollock eggs to return to Seattle for specific gravity measurements (Kendall).

6. 1 midwater trawl for spawning pollock.

A. Obtain fin-clip samples (Canino).

B. Obtain genetic tissue samples (ADFG).

C. Obtain gill raker samples (Schabetsberger).


The cruise began with biological oceanographic sampling at 4 stations on Line 8 in Shelikof Strait. This was followed by an EK500 search for pollock concentrations in the deep trench on the Alaska Peninsula side of the strait north of Line 8. Heavy sign was seen in the deep pool off Takli Island, and a midwater trawl was taken which resulted in spawning pollock to meet all of our objectives for adult pollock in Shelikof Strait. We then returned to make CTD casts at 2 mooring sites near Line 8, and then proceeded toward Unimak Pass. Before we got there a forecast storm developed which impeded our progress. On reaching the Bering Sea we began a bongo/EK500 survey to locate a region of pollock spawning and egg concentration. This work proceeded slowly, with steady winds of 40 knots and seas to 30 feet. At some stations biological oceanographic observations were also made. Very few pollock eggs appeared in the samples, and no significant concentrations of adults were seen. Finally a station was set in deeper water north of Unimak Pass, and discrete-depth Tucker trawls were made to obtain pollock eggs for specific gravity measurements. No eggs were seen in either a 0-40 m, or a 160-200 m tow so no further egg sampling was done. A midwater trawl conducted on sign at the same station resulted in sufficient pollock to obtain material for genetic studies, but no ripe females were found. Following this trawl we broke operations and made way to Dutch Harbor.

There were no significant mechanical or electronic problems during the cruise. The weather in the Bering Sea severely limited our operations there. We were not able to steam at full speed, and could not conduct all the operations scheduled. In spite of the weather, both the ship's and the scientific crews worked very well; had it not been for their extraordinary efforts in the rough weather we would not have been able to accomplish as much as we did.


Table 1. MF9805A Cruise Summary.

Table 2. Gear deployed and samples collected during MF9805A, 6-12 April 1998.


Figure 1. Shelikof Strait stations.

Figure 2. Bering Sea stations.