Fish Wintering in the Sagavanirktok Delta, Alaska

by David R. Schmidt, LGL Alaska Research Assoc Inc, Fairbanks, AK, USA,
William B. Griffiths, LGL Alaska Research Assoc Inc, Fairbanks, AK, USA,
Larry R. Martin, LGL Alaska Research Assoc Inc, Fairbanks, AK, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '87


Anadromous fish of the Alaskan Beaufort Sea overwinter for eight to nine months in isolated pools of coastal rivers where water remains unfrozen through the winter. Available overwintering habitat represents only about 3 percent of the total water volume available during the short summer. Although current fish impact assessment and mitigation planning tends to focus on summer distribution and abundance, the availability of suitable overwintering habitat may be one of the major limiting factors of anadromous fish populations. This paper describes changes through the winter in water quality and in anadromous fish species composition and density in overwintering pools of the Sagavanirktok and Colville river deltas, along with population estimates, food habits, growth and mortality.

Subject Headings: Fish management | Winter | Water quality | Seas and oceans | Sea water | Density currents | Aquatic habitats | Meteorology | Alaska | United States | Beaufort Sea

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