Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Special Scientific Report No. 124 V. R 1989-1990


The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) has conducted a bottom trawl survey of some fashion since 1955. Historically, sampling has occurred as mid-channel transects at fixed locations spaced at approximately five mile intervals. In the early 1970's, work was performed on the Mobjack Bay and Piankatank River using the standard 30 ft. fishing gear from a large research platform, with a 16 ft. gear towed from an outboard skiff or Chesapeake deadrise at shallow stations (:$; 12 ft.). Linda Pushee Mercer initiated the first random survey of the York River in 1971-72, as part of the results of a pipefish study. This survey, and the realization of an increasing need for a random survey of the main stem Bay and tributaries, were factors in implementing a Bay wide random survey in 1973. This program had a very large spatial coverage in various depth strata, but was very limited in its temporal component. Sampling occurred on a semi-annual basis primarily in January and February, and again in July (Wojcik, 1988a.) Based on previous results from the fixed station sampling, effort was high to provide the desired margin of error (300-700 trawls per survey). This survey was discontinued after several years because of decreased funding. Subsequently, the program returned to a fixed station transect design. These river transects continued monthly until 1988, when the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee (CBSAC) funded a monthly random stratified survey of the main stem Bay (Chittenden, 1991) in hopes that this initiative would produce similar surveys of Virginia's major tributaries, the James, York, and Rappahannock Rivers. With this in mind, a pilot survey similar in design was established and implemented for the York River (for logistic reasons), beginning in October 1989. This work was performed independent of, and with a different vessel and smaller fishing gear than the primary sampling of the Bay and tributaries. With the purchase of the solely dedicated trawler RIV Fish Hawk, this random survey of the York was later incorporated and sampled along with the historic fixed stations (June 1991).



Fisheries, Management, Abundance, Virgina


Wallop Breaux and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sportfish Restoration Project F104 (through the Virginia Marine Resources Commission).