Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

A comparison of reproductive parameters of the Bering skate, Bathyraja interrupta, from two Alaskan large marine ecosystems

Shaara M. Ainsley A B , David A. Ebert A and Gregor M. Cailliet A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Pacific Shark Research Center, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, 8272 Moss Landing Road, Moss Landing, CA 95039, USA.

B Corresponding author. Email: shaaraainsley@fishbio.com

Marine and Freshwater Research 62(6) 557-566 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF10140
Submitted: 16 June 2010  Accepted: 25 February 2011   Published: 24 June 2011

Abstract

Estimates of size at maturity are crucial to fisheries stock assessments and may change spatially and temporally. This study directly compares life-history characteristics of a skate species in two large marine ecosystems in a region where there is both a directed fishery and considerable skate by-catch in other fisheries. The Bering skate, Bathyraja interrupta, is one of the most common skate species in Alaskan waters, occurring in two large marine ecosystems, the eastern Bering Sea (EBS) and the Gulf of Alaska (GOA), but little is known about its life history. Skates were sampled from both regions between 2004 and 2007. In the GOA, the size at maturity was estimated to be 69 cm total length (TL) for males and 71 cm TL for females, while in the EBS size at maturity was estimated as 70 cm and 72 cm TL for males and females, respectively. Median size at maturity differed by sex but not by region. Our results indicate that B. interrupta shows late maturity, typical of most skate species, suggesting that more detailed monitoring of skate populations and precautionary management is warranted as skate fisheries expand.

Additional keywords: by-catch, elasmobranch, skate fishery.


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