Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Special Scientific Report No. 124 V. 1995


The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) has conducted a trawl survey dating back to 1955. Over the 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 fish 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 proven to be 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). Several comments should be noted for the 1995 sampling year. The survey expanded significantly, initiating sampling of the shallow waters (4-12 ft) of the Chesapeake Bay, and a random stratified design survey of the Rappahannock River. This latter survey and a similar survey of the York River which has been performed since 1989, will make the goal of a bay -wide random stratified survey nearly complete. In March 1996, a similar survey will be implemented on the James River. The most noteable catch result for 1995 was the large catches of squid species observed in the lower bay. Squid abundance was ranked tenth among all species, third in the Bay proper. Other species with increasing catch rates included summer flounder, weakfish, silver perch, kingfish, and penaeid shrimp. Those with lower CPUEs included striped bass and spot. Atmospherically, the summer of 1995 had .the highest mean monthly temperatures on record. Although daily temperatures rarely reached record levels, there were several weeks of consecutive 90+ F0 temperatures. This resulted in mean bottom water temperatures being significantly higher than the a forty year average (1955-1995) for the months July to October.



Fisheries, Management, Abundance, Virgina