Category Polar – Arctic

Pacific and atlantic salmon

Oncorhynchus spp. and Salmo salar

The global demand for salmon – that most excellent of table fish – has led to a considerably- sized salmon farming industry in both the northern and southern hemispheres, with large numbers of fish being reared in net-pens. Although the Pacific waters have five endemic salmon species, many salmon farmers prefer the Atlantic salmon, as it is easier to culture.

Inevitably, farmed Atlantic salmon escape from the pens, often in large numbers. This has the effect of having an alien species competing with native species for spawning and rearing habitat...

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Mysid shrimp

Mysis littoralis

There are several crustacean forms that are commonly called shrimp although they do not belong to the same order as the true shrimp, order Decapoda, which also includes the lobsters and crabs. Mysid shrimp are not true shrimps, although they look very similar. Mysid shrimp (Mysis littoralis) are members of the order Mysidacea. Often called opossum shrimps because they carry their young in an under-belly pouch, they are smaller in size than the true shrimp.

With their distinct set of antennae, mysids can be easily confused with krill, another shrimp-like creature. Mysids, however, inhabit a different space in the water column. At most times of the year, they are found in shallow, intertidal waters with mud bottoms or granular sediments and seaweeds...

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Ringed seal

Phoca hispida

The ringed seal is the most common of the Arctic seals. It is not generally found on the open sea, but instead prefer areas where the ice is firm. It is distributed throughout the northern parts of the Baltic Sea, Canada, Alaska, Siberia and along Pacific Japanese coasts.

Adult ringed seals grow to 140-150 cm in length, with females slightly smaller than males. It is similar in shape and color to common seals, although generally darker. The belly is silver gray color and the dorsal side is pale gray with dark spots that are surrounded with pale colored rings.

The ringed seal is an opportunistic feeder, spending most of the time from late summer to early spring on this activity. It feeds mainly on benthic (bottom dwelling), nektonic (swimming) and planktonic organisms...

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Arctic cod

Boreogadus saida

The Arctic or polar cod (Boreogadus saida) is distributed throughout the ecoregion and occurs in coastal habitats during both summer and winter months. It is able to tolerate a wide range of temperatures, saline levels and turbidities. It is found further north than any other fish species. Arctic cod spawns only once during its life cycle. When newly hatched the larvae feed on copepods larvae (very small crustacea) and eggs. As they grow, they graduate to krill and other crustaceans, then to small fish.

Adult cod feed mainly on fish such as capelin and herring and can grow to 40cm in length, though will typically be around 25cm...

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King crab

Paralithodes camtschatica

Originating from the Sea of Okhotsk in the Camchatca region of eastern Russia, and also native to the Bering Sea, the red king crab (Paralithodes camtschatica) was introduced to parts of the Russian waters of the Barents Sea in the 1960’s. In the mid 1970’s, individual specimens started to appear as bycatch on both sides of the shared Russian/Norwegian border. Since that time, bycatch numbers have increased significantly in that region.

The king crab is a valuable food source and as the world’s largest edible crab, it is the most commercially important of all crabs...

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