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Acoustic-Trawl Survey of Walleye Pollock in the Gulf of Alaska (DY1706, ME70)
The Midwater Assessment and Conservation Engineering (MACE) program of NOAA Fisheries, Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) conducted an acoustic-trawl (AT) stock assessment survey along the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) shelf and associated bays during the late spring and summer of 2017 to estimate the distribution and abundance of walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus). The survey was conducted 9 June-16 August aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson, a 64 meter stern trawler equipped with acoustic and oceanographic instrumentation. The primary instrument for the survey was a Simrad EK60 split-beam echosounder system utilizing five frequencies (18, 38, 70, 120, and 200 kHz). A Simrad ME70 multibeam echosounder system was used during nighttime operations to evaluate the topography of the seafloor in various habitats for select (typically untrawable) areas. The vessel departed Kodiak, Alaska on 9 June and conducted the survey in three legs with all port calls in Kodiak; the project was completed with the arrival of the vessel in Kodiak on 16 August. Leg 1 of the project was conducted 9-28 June along the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) shelf from the Islands of Four Mountains to Outer Shumagin Trough (12-18, 20-21, 22, and 26-27 June). Leg 1 survey areas included Sanak Trough (19 June), Morzhovoi Bay (19-20 June), Pavlof Bay (21 June), Shumagin Islands area (23-25 and 26 June), and Mitrofania area (25 June); the vessel transited to Kodiak 27-28 June. The vessel departed Kodiak on 3 July to start leg 2 (3-28 July) and conducted survey work in Shelikof Strait (3-8 and 10 July), Nakchamik area (9 July), Alitak Bay (12-13 July), initial survey of Barnabas Trough (14-15 July), and GOA shelf (9-10, 10-12, and July). The vessel returned to Kodiak on 15 July, ending leg 2, due to mechanical issues and departed Kodak on 28 July to start leg 3. Leg 3 work included surveys of Chiniak Trough (28-29 July), Barnabas Trough (31 July-1 August), Marmot Bay (3-4 August), and completion of GOA shelf work (3 July; 2 and 4-14 August). The vessel transited to Kodiak Island (14-15 August) and ended the project in Kodiak on 16 August. Sphere calibrations of the EK60 and ME70 echosounder systems were conducted in Kalsin Bay, Kodiak Island, Alaska on 9 June with an additional EK60 calibration conducted at the end of the project on 16 August. Small surveys were conducted on select untrawlable habitat areas throughout the project using a Simrad ME70 multibeam echosounder system.