Gulf of Alaska

The Alexander Archipelago contains complex seafloor that is perfect habitat for red tree corals (link to above) (Primnoa sp.), a variety of sponges and anemones (links). Sea whip groves and coral gardens off Kodiak Island are home to a variety of rockfish, king crab (links) and other important species.

 

The rich continental slope dives deep to the Aleutian Trench in the western Gulf. Seamounts, or underwater mountains, are scattered throughout the Gulf of Alaska and contain dense coral gardens far out at sea.

 

Irresponsible bottom trawling (link) threatens the corals of the continental slope and areas of the shelf near Kodiak Island. The major trawl fisheries impacting corals and sponges in the Gulf of Alaska target rockfish, deepwater flatfish, and Pacific cod (links).

 

Most of the Gulf of Alaska trawl fleet fishes out of Kodiak with boats of various sizes. From 1997 to 1999, NOAA Fisheries (link) estimates that an average of over 24,000 pounds of corals and sponges were caught, killed, and discarded as bycatch (link to campaign) each year, mostly by bottom trawling.