Using pop-up satellite archival tags for understanding Pacific halibut movement in and around Glacier Bay National Park

Project Description

The commercial fishery for Pacific halibut in Glacier Bay National Park is currently being phased out and is projected to cease sometime between 2050 and 2060 because of attrition of lifetime access permit holders. Previous acoustic telemetry research indicates that limited dispersal and site fidelity to summer feeding locations within Glacier Bay may be a common phenomenon among adult female halibut. If so, Glacier Bay may eventually serve as a refuge from commercial harvest during the summer months and thus may have some value as a Marine Protected Area (MPA). However, in order to assess the potential benefits of Glacier Bay as an MPA for halibut, more information on seasonal movements is needed. The goal of this project is to determine whether electronic tags such as pop-up satellite archival tags (PSATs) and acoustic tags can be used to determine whether and when adult halibut leave Glacier Bay during the winter on spawning migrations and if they do, whether and when they return to summer feeding grounds within Glacier Bay the following summer. Our initial results suggest that electronic tags can be used to detect departure and return to Glacier Bay during the winter for some fish as well as year-round residency for others. In addition to providing a better understanding of the movement of adult halibut relative to spatial and temporal fisheries closures in and around Glacier Bay, this research has important implications for the ability to detect seasonal migration of adult halibut in other areas using electronic tags.

Research Team

Principal Investigator

picture of Andrew "Andy" Seitz

Andrew "Andy" Seitz

Associate Professor
  • Fish behavior
  • fish migration
  • behavioral ecology
  • electronic tagging
(907) 474-5254
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Co-Principal Investigator

picture of Julie Nielsen

Julie Nielsen

Ph.D. Student
(907) 796-5441
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Research Staff and Students

Mark Evans
Michael Courtney
Thomas Farrugia, PhD Fisheries Student
Kevin Siwicke
David Stone
Tim Loher (International Pacific Halibut Commission)
Maurice Tivey (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute)

Project Funding

National Park Service
Amount: 149,491
Start Date: 2011-09-00 End Date: 2015-12-00

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