Beaufort Regional Environmental Assessment (BREA) Marine Fishes Project - Distribution and abundance of fishes in the Canadian Beaufort Sea, Summer 2013
Ship: CCGS Amundsen CA
Principal Investigator: Reist, Jim
Start Date: 01-08-2013
End Date: 12-09-2013
Citation: Unpublished data
Abstract: During August and early September 2013, sampling for the BREA-MFP was conducted along predetermined depth station in the Amundsen Gulf and the transboundary area straddling the Yukon-Alaska border. Leg one focused on five transects in Amundsen Gulf (20 - 750 m): Cape Parry (cpy), Bennett Point (bpt), Darnley Bay (dar), Ulukhaktok (ulu), Cape Bathurst (cbh), and one transect (esc) which extended along the 20 m isobath from nearshore from Cape Bathurst to offshore of Tuktoyaktuk. Leg two consisted of three primary transects (40 - 1000 m): Garry (gry), Transboundary (tbs), and A1 (in U.S. waters), and supplementary station sampling conducted along a fourth transect, deepwater (dwt, 1200 - 1500 m). Separate from station sampling, all transects were run for hydroacoustic sampling using a Simrad EK-60 split-beam multi-frequency (38, 120, and 200kHz) echosounder to detect aggregations of marine fishes and other biota in the water column. Acoustic targets were echo-validated using fishing equipment and plankton nets, with concurrent collection of oceanographic data. Three fishing nets were used: a modified Atlantic Western IIA benthic otter trawl (w2a), a 3m high-lift beam trawl (bbt), and a Cosmos-Swan 260m pelagic otter trawl (mwt). The w2a and bbt nets were towed at each station for a target bottom contact time of 20 minutes and were standardized for speed-over-ground. Net sampling associated with hydrocacoustics was conducted using whichever net, depth and trawl time was deemed appropriate for target validation. The following information was recorded for each net haul: bottom contact time, coordinates at beginning and end of trawl (decimal degrees), door spread (m), height of net opening (m), trawl speed (m/s), depth (m), warp (or wire) out (m), wind (knots), cloud cover, wave height (m), and comments. Bottom contact and vertical net opening were monitored to assess fishing performance. Measurement parameters were recorded at intervals over the duration of bottom contact for each tow. All fish caught were processed. Field processing consisted of recording biomass (by family), length of individual fish, and taxonomic identification. Fish were flash frozen at -50°C. Laboratory processing took place at the Freshwater Institute in Winnipeg, MB where fish underwent either basic reduced processing. See 2012 metadata record (CCIN Reference No. 11997) for more information on processing parameters. Three to five voucher specimens were preserved for each The Beaufort Regional Environmental Assessment (BREA) was a multi-stakeholder initiative, administered by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, which sponsored regional environmental and socio-economic research vital to the future management of oil and gas in the Beaufort Sea (http://www.beaufortrea.ca/). The BREA identified major knowledge gaps relevant to regulatory review processes including a lack of baseline information of offshore marine fishes and habitats. This information is necessary to support project planning, monitoring and regulatory activities and is required to assess the cumulative impacts and broader ecosystem ramifications of multiple stressors including oil and gas development and climate change. In 2012 and 2013, the Arctic Aquatic Research Division of Fisheries and Oceans Canada lead the BREA Marine Fishes Project (BREA-MFP), the first assessment of offshore marine fishes in the Canadian Beaufort Sea. The overarching program objectives of the BREA-MFP were to 1) establish regional baselines for diversity, relative abundances and distributions of offshore marine fishes, 2) determine the community structure and habitat associations of marine fishes and 3) understand ecosystem linkages and energy pathways within and among offshore and coastal marine habitats. The baseline information contained in this dataset can be used to predict and assess the impacts of future oil and gas development and climate change and will support the development of regulatory frameworks (e.g. through identification of critical habitats), project planning and future conservation and monitoring efforts. This dataset contains fishing net deployment data and basic biological information for fish caught during the 2013 BREA expedition.