Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Special Scientific Report No. 124 V. 1993


The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) has conducted a trawl survey dating back to 1955. Over these forty years methods and objectives have varied according to funding sources and state and/or federal mandates. The present thrust of the program is to provide juvenile indices of relative abundance for recreationally, commercially, and ecologically important finfish and invertebrates. These measures of juvenile abundance are widely used as a key element in the management of the Atlantic States' coastal fishery resources. Estimates of juveniles (age-0) have been found to provide a reliable and early indicator of future year class strength. A review of previously available indices of juvenile abundance for important fishery resource species of the Chesapeake Bay by the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee (CBSAC), a federal/state committee sponsored and funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), resulted in the recommendation that, "a unified, consistent trawl program should be one of the primary monitoring tools for finfish and crab stock assessment." (Chesapeake Bay Program Stock Assessment Plan, Chesapeake Executive Council 1988). There were several notable results in the survey this year. Two groups of invertebrates were officially added to the collection list. The penaeid shrimp are only of minor significance in Chesapeake Bay, but in certain years (1991) their abundance has been high enough to rank in the top twenty species caught. The squid species of the family Lologinidae have been include due to their overall abundance in the main stem bay (ranked 11th overall), Atlantic coast commercial value, and ecological factors. Both these groups of species were collected in past years but on an inconsistent basis. Other results worth mentioning include a large increase in the scup abundance, over six times that of the previous year. Although older summer flounder appeared abundant, there was a substantial decrease in juvenile abundance near the historic low of 1988. The blue crab population continues to be depressed, although catch rates were slightly higher than in recent years. In the tributaries, there has been a marked increase in young-of-the-year (YOY) striped bass and white perch which began in November and continued into the early months of 1994. Atmospherically, 1993 included a mild winter followed by an unusually cool, wet spring. The summer was one of drought conditions and record highs, making it the second hottest summer in recorded history. The purpose of this summary is to provide an accurate account of trawl survey sampling performed during the calendar year 1993. Previous volumes of this series have served as excellent reference guides to resource managers, scientists, academics, as well as the general public. Since there are other venues which presently detail specific results of these data (Geer et al, 1993), conclusions are kept at a minimum in order to provide the most information in the available space.



Fisheries, Management, Abundance, Virgina



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