During Easter weekend, we were sampling along the northeastern part of Georges Bank and even made it into Canadian waters. We’ve been seeing a lot of large winter skate, Leucoraja ocellata.
This species may be confused with little skate, but at these sizes, there’s no dispute. It’s not uncommon to see a winter skate measure in at over a meter long! At that size, some caution is needed when handling this bottom dweller because it has very sharp dermal denticles on its wing. Dermal denticles are tough, and in this case, extremely pointy, scales that help with protection. As I was sorting fish, my Grundens (waterproof outerwear) got snagged onto some of these denticles and nearly caused a tear!
The fish tend to get bigger the further north we go. We caught some sizable fourspot flounder, Paralichthys oblongus, that were over 40cm.
This one was the largest one I remember seeing at 50 cm! Their characteristic four spots are easy to see and with their large mouths, it’s not uncommon to find fish, shrimp and crabs in their stomach.
A yellowfin bass, Anthias nicholsi, was caught during the day shift. Its neon yellow and pink colors definitely catch your eye among the more brown and muted colors commonly found in the area.
And just for fun, we had an egg decorating contest. After the eggs were decorated, we were able to cast our votes. It wasn’t easy because there were so many fun and creative eggs, but there were some that stood out.
Congratulations to Katelyn Depot for ‘Best Overall Egg’ (#14), Joseph Warren for ‘Most Traditional Egg’ (#15), and Jakub Kircun for ‘Most Creative Egg’ (#1)!
Aboard the FSV Henry B. Bigelow
Spring 2019 Bottom Trawl Survey Leg 3