by Wyatt Fournier from the Northwest Explorer
|Pacific pomfret, a new species to our 2011 survey.|
We are now sampling in front of Stevenson Entrance, the body of water that separates Afognak Island from the Kenai Peninsula. This area is notorious for heavy weather as the winds and water push out of Cook Inlet and into the Gulf of Alaska. These last few days have not been an exception to the rule, as we have been pummeled by 30 mph winds and 25 foot seas, forcing us to abandon some oceanography sampling that we will return for at the end of the leg. Continuing down the transect, we crossed over the biologically productive Portlock Bank. Here, to no surprise, our net was full of Pacific salmon of all species and age classes. At the end of our transect, we began sampling deeper waters and encountered a species that was new to our 2011 survey, the Pacific pomfret. This species has a native range throughout the Gulf of Alaska and across the Pacific Ocean to Japan, with documented catches in this area during the summer months. These individuals averaged ~370mm in length and ~900g in mass.