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Sea fish of Kamchatka


PleuronectidaeRepresentatives of this family are characterized by asymmetrical sculp having eyes on one side (left or right); their bodies are oval and flat. Most of Pleuronectidae species are typical bottom dwellers. Nevertheless, some species of the family (Flathead sole, Sakhalin) and halibut species live near the bottom.

Pacific halibut

This species is common near western Kamchatka, but is not numerous in general. It is more often met near eastern Kamchatka and western part of the Bering Sea. Pacific halibut is one of the biggest fish species. Official registers mention several specimens 239-267 cm long, weighing 230-345 kg. Such unique specimens are caught rarely, but halibuts 100-180 cm long with the weight of 50-80 kg are a usual catch, especially in the western part of the Bering Sea. Commercial catch shows predominance of 40-90-cm-long specimens with the weight of up to 6-8 kg. The maximum age of life is 35 years; the schools are dominated 5-12-year-old specimens.
Halibut reproduces in autumn and winter; in the Bering Sea – from October till November. The species lives at the depth of 10-700 meters. Seasonal migrations mean that halibut abandons depths less than 50 meters in winter seasons and concentrates at the depth of 300-500 meters. In summertime, halibut shifts towards the shelf; however, the depths of 50-100 meters serve as a habitat for small and immature specimens, while larger ones demonstrate only occasional appearance and live mainly on the continental slope.

Greenland turbot

This species occurs mainly on the continent slope and adjoining shelf of the coasts of the Okhotsk Sea and western Bering Sea, some specimens were also observed in the waters of eastern Kamchatka. Unlike other Pleuronectidae, it has dark blind part and light eyed part of the body. This is a big fish, living up to 24 years, which may reach 120-130 cm long, 13.5 kg of weight. As a rule, its length doesn’t exceed 85 cm. The catch usually consists of specimens 45-80 cm long with the weight of 1-5 kg. Spawning period is in May-January, with a peak in October-December. Greenland turbot has a wide bathymetric range: from 20 to 1,700 meters, the shelf is mainly inhabited by the young fish, while lower elevations and continent slope – by pubescent specimens. Greenland turbot is an active predator. Fish plays a crucial role in its nutrition, especially walleye pollock; among cephalopods, Greenland turbot prefers feeing on squids.

Yellowfin sole

One of the most valuable commercial species. It accounts for the major part of flatfish catch near western Kamchatka (50-70 %). It also lives near eastern the coast of the Bering Sea. The eyed part of its body is light-brown, the blind one is white. A dark strip goes through the base of the dorsal and anal fins on the eyed side of the body. Fins are yellow on the blind side. Its length may be up to 49 cm, weight – up to 1.7 kg, average length of the fish in the catch is 24-35 cm. Reproduction takes place in Kamchatka waters from the end of May till September with the peak in July. The yellowfin sole is a bottom seafish which may live in freshened waters near river firths.

Rock sole

This species can be easily distinguished by the structure of the lateral line which makes a high arc above the pectoral fin and an additional dorsal branch well seen on the blind side of the body. The upper part is brown-grey with small dark spots.  The fish can grow up to 60 cm; its age of life is about 20 years. The average length and weight of specimens in the catch are 30-35 cm and 400-600 g respectively. The species migrates depending on the season. A big pubescent rock sole hibernates at the depth of 150-350 meters; the hibernating lasts from December till April. Spawning occurs in Kamchatka waters from March till April. After spawning, the species migrate from the hibernating place to the shelf, where it actively feeds on shellfish in July-October at the depths of 30-100 meters.

Alaska place

This species has a large thick body. There are 4-6 bonus calluses behind the upper eye. The blind side is yellow; the eyed one may have the color from grey-brown to dark green. The skin is bare. The Alaska place is widespread near the Okhotsk Sea coast, eastern Kamchatka and western coast of the Bering Sea. It is one of the biggest species among Pleuronectidae: there are specimens up to 62 cm long weighing 3.5 kg. 75-85 % of the catch is composed of the fish 24-35 cm long with the weight of 0.3-1.4 kg. Maximum habitat depth is 400-500 meter. Massive spawning takes place in April-May at the depth of 100-200 meters.

Longhead dab

The head of this species is long and raised upwards. The blind side is yellow-orange. The species is small: its length is up to 30-35 cm, the catch is usually dominated by the specimens 15-20 cm long, weighing 60-300 g. It is common in Kamchatka coastal waters. The longhead dab is a coastal species and may occur in freshened waters near river firths, though sometimes it may be caught at the depth of 100 meters and more. In late autumn and winter, it probably shifts deeper into the sea and hibernates at the depth of up to 500 meters. Massive spawning takes place in July-August.

Flathead sole

A big mouth, the upper jaw passing through the mid-eye is nearly vertical. The lateral line is nearly straight. The eyed side color varies from grey to light brown, the blind side is light color. The species is quite big in size: length up to 58 cm, weight of 1800 g, a catch is usually presented with specimens 26-38 cm long, with the weight of 340-460 g (western part of the Bering Sea). It is a multiple spawning fish; reproduction takes 2 or 3 stages, its climax being in May-first week of June, at the depth of 20-100 meters. Flathead sole occurs at the depth of up to 1000 meters. In the summertime, it disseminates on the shelf between isobaths of 30-80 meters. In winter, it goes down to the upper sections of the continent slope (450-500 meters).

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