Experimental Gillnet Sampling of Starry Flounder in the Kugluktuk Region of the Coronation Gulf: a Preliminary Biological Resource Assessment
The starry flounder is an abundant, widely distributed species found throughout the Pacific and western Arctic oceans, mainly in shallow coastal waters. It is an important food fish in the North Pacific. Developing a new fishery for starry flounder in Nunavut is a unique opportunity to combine modern fisheries management with the land ethic and traditional ecological knowledge of the Inuit.
This research consisted of an exploratory fishery in the Kugluktuk region of the Coronation Gulf in 2003, where the researchers fished multi-mesh experimental gillnets. The overall goal was to begin a database of fishes in the area and to assess the potential for future commercial fisheries. The bulk of their catch (82%) was a mix of starry flounder, Arctic Cisco, and saffron cod. Arctic Char, Greenland Cod, Arctic flounder, Pacific herring, broad whitefish, Bering wolffish and various sculpin constituted the rest of the catch.
This research was the first step to establishing some baseline data for emerging Arctic fisheries, particularly with starry flounder. However, the researchers also advise a cautionary approach. We are dealing with slow growing species of the Arctic, hence the need for extensive sampling to determine the ranges and limitations (life history) of various fishable species.