Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 99, Issue 11, pp 813–828 | Cite as

Comparative age and growth of the Aleutian skate, Bathyraja aleutica, from the eastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska

  • Diane L. Haas
  • David A. Ebert
  • Gregor M. Cailliet


The Aleutian skate (Bathyraja aleutica) is a large deep-water species that commonly occurs in bycatch of Alaskan trawl and longline fisheries. Although prominent in the skate biomass of the eastern Bering Sea (EBS) and Gulf of Alaska (GOA) ecosystems, minimal biological information exists. To increase our understanding of this potentially vulnerable species, and address the possibility of two separate populations in Alaskan waters, the age and growth of B. aleutica was studied. Vertebral centra were examined for age determination, and multiple growth models were evaluated to determine growth characteristics. Skates from the EBS attained maximum ages of 17 and 16 years for females and males, respectively, and the two-parameter von Bertalanffy growth functions generated estimates of k = 0.13 yr.-1 and L∞ = 162.1 cm for females, with similar results for males. Skates from the GOA reached 19 years in females and 18 years in males. Growth parameters of female skates from the GOA were estimated as k = 0.11 yr.-1 and L∞ = 160.0 cm, whereas males grew faster, with estimates of k = 0.15 yr.-1 and L∞ = 138.2 cm. The results of this study may indicate the presence of distinct populations of B. aleutica in the eastern North Pacific.


Age Growth Skate Bathyraja aleutica Gulf of Alaska Eastern Bering Sea 



We thank Jerry Berger, Eric Brown, Sarah Gaichas, Christopher Gburski, Jerry Hoff, Dan Kimura, Ned Laman, Bob Lauth, Beth Matta, Jay Orr, Frank Shaw, Jim Stark, Duane Stevenson, Rob Swanson, and Cindy Tribuzio (National Marine Fisheries Service – Alaska Fisheries Science Center); Mike Byerly, Ken Goldman, Lynne Mattes, Tory O’Connell, and Kally Spalinger (Alaska Department of Fish and Game); and Katherine Pearson-Maslenikov (University of Washington) for their invaluable assistance in various aspects of the study. We are especially thankful to the members of the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Labs: Wade Smith, Heather Robinson, Chanté Davis, Lewis Barnett, Shaara Ainsley, Jasmine Maurer, Ashley Neway, Simon Brown, Mariah Boyle, and Joe Bizzarro for field and laboratory assistance and support. Funding was provided by the North Pacific Research Board (Project #510), the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Earl and Ethel Myers Oceanographic Trust, and NOAA/NMFS to the National Shark Research Consortium and Pacific Shark Research Center.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All applicable institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. This research was conducted under Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocol #801.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane L. Haas
    • 1
    • 2
  • David A. Ebert
    • 1
  • Gregor M. Cailliet
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacific Shark Research CenterMoss Landing Marine LaboratoriesMoss LandingUSA
  2. 2.California Department of Fish and WildlifeSacramentoUSA

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