Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Measures of juvenile recruitment success have long been recognized as a valuable fisheries management tool. In the Chesapeake Bay, these measures have provided reliable indicators for future year class strength for blue crabs (Lipcius and van Engel, 1990), striped bass (Goodyear, 1985), and several other recreationally important fishes (Geer and Austin, 1999).
The American eel, Anguilla rostrata, is a valuable commercial species along the entire Atlantic coast from New Brunswick to Florida. Landings along the U.S. Atlantic coast have varied from 290 MT in 1962 to a high of 1600 MT in 1975 (NMFS, 1999). In recent years there seems to be declining harvest, with similar patterns seen in the Canadian maritime providences. The Mid-Atlantic states (New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) have comprised the largest portion of the East Coast catch (88% of the reported landings) since 1988 (NMFS 1999). The Chesapeake Bay jurisdictions of Virginia, Maryland, and Potomac River Fisheries Commission (PRFC) alone represent 30, 15, and 18% respectively, of the annual United States (Gulf and Atlantic coast states) commercial harvest for the years 1987-1996 (ASMFC, 1999). Some fishery-independent indices have shown a decline in abundance in recent years as well (Richkus and Whalens 1999; Geer in review). Hypotheses for the decline include shifts in the Gulf Stream, pollution, over-fishing, parasites, habitat loss, and barriers to passage (Castonguay et al. 1994). more ...
Submitted to Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
American eel--Virginia; Eel fisheries--Virginia
Geer, P. J. (2001) Estimating relative abundance of young of year American eel, Anguilla rostrata, in the Virginia tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay March 2000 - June 2001. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary. https://scholarworks.wm.edu/reports/1359