• An Interdisciplinary Sustainability Evaluation of the Skate Fishery in the Gulf of Alaska

      Farrugia, Thomas (2012)
      Skates are in growing demand worldwide, and the 2008 U.S. landings of skates was estimated at 65 million pounds, worth $11 million. However, many Atlantic Ocean skate stocks are collapsing. Alaska has relatively healthy skate stocks and there is increasing economic pressure to develop directed fisheries for them. Presently, the most frequently landed and exported skates in the Gulf of Alaska are the big (Raja binoculata) and longnose skates (R. rhina). These species are long-lived, possess slow growth rates and mature late in life, making them vulnerable to overfishing. A small experimental directed state fishery for big and longnose skates in Prince William Sound (PWS), Alaska provides a unique opportunity to study the feasibility of a directed skate fishery as a means of increasing the economic resilience of coastal Alaskan communities. This project will take an interdisciplinary approach to assessing the sustainability of the budding skate fishery in Alaska by 1) examining movement patterns of big and longnose skates, 2) developing a spatially-explicit stock assessment and 3) building a bio-economic model of the skate fishery in the Gulf of Alaska.