Field Guide to Sharks, Skates, and Ratfish of Alaska

Field Guide to Sharks, Skates, and Ratfish of Alaska

Duane E. Stevenson, James W. Orr, Gerald R. Hoff, and John D. McEachran. Cover art by Ray Troll

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This field guide is the most comprehensive overview of Alaska's cartilaginous fishes ever produced. The authoritative book combines information from the scientific literature with morphology descriptions based on museum specimens, and distribution data from assessment surveys and observer collections. An identification key to 9 sharks, 15 skates, and one ratfish is included, as well as a key to egg cases. Color photos, illustrations, and distribution maps are provided for each species,supplemented with shark teeth drawings.

Sharks, skates, and ratfish are important to Alaska's marine ecosystems, even though they do not support large commercial fisheries. In addition, because of their large size, longevity, and low reproduction rate, they may represent the most vulnerable components of the ecosystems. This book feeds the increasing curiosity about the diversity and conservation of cartilaginous fishes.

About the authors

Duane Stevenson and James Orr are research fisheries biologists at the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering (RACE) Division in Seattle, Washington. Their research interests include the taxonomy and systematics of many groups of fishes. In addition to published research, they have worked extensively within both the Alaska Fisheries Science Center groundfish program and the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program to provide training and produce field guides to several groups of Alaska fishes and invertebrates.

Gerald Hoff is also a research fisheries biologist at the NMFS Alaska Fisheries Science Center's RACE Division in Seattle. His research focuses on the biology and ecology of noncommercial deepwater fish species in the North Pacific. He has done extensive work on the ecology and reproduction of skates in Alaska with an emphasis on conservation of their marine habitats.

John McEachran is a professor in the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. His research concerns the systematics and biogeography of skates and rays, and species diversity and biogeography of fishes of the central western Atlantic. He has also made several contributions to the series FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes.

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What others say

"Finally, a handy, user-friendly guide to Alaska's sharks and skates. This easy-to-follow guide is the best source available to those interested in identifying these fascinating fishes in Alaskan waters."—David A. Ebert, Ph.D., Program Manager, Pacific Shark Research Center, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories

"This is an excellent field guide that is perfectly suited as a tool for fish biologists and as a guide for enthusiasts of Alaska's chondrichthyans."— Bob Foy, Ph.D., Director, Kodiak Fisheries Research Center, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center

"This comprehensive field guide to Alaska's chondrichthyan fishes is a great resource for scientists, fishermen and anyone in the general public who has an interest in this amazing group of fishes. A book like this is long overdue and the authors are to be commended."—Kenneth J. Goldman, Ph.D., Central Region Groundfish and Shellfish Research Biologist, Division of Commercial Fisheries, Alaska Department of Fish and Game

"This excellent field guide to the sharks, skates and ratfish will be invaluable to fish biologists, fishery observers, commercial fishermen, and sport anglers alike. Undoubtedly, it will magnify the quality of field data collections as well as broaden the appreciation of the biology and life history of these interesting cartilaginous fishes in Alaska."—Gordon H. Kruse, Ph.D., President's Professor of Fisheries, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks