Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Marine Advisory Program (MAP)
Fishery Resource Grant FRG 2018-11
The juvenile Atlantic Croaker ( Micropogonias undulates ) population is being severely cut down in the summer months by haul seines in the Chesapeake bay. It is common for commercial haul seines to land thousands of pounds of fish. When these fish are processed a large percentage of the smallest fish are sold on the bait market for a low price of .04 cents per pound. The high amount of small baitfish harvested annually by haul seines is only hurting future harvest of larger, more valuable fish. The bait caught is mostly Croaker but also includes Spot (leiostomus xanthurus), Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus), and Weakfish (Cynoscion regalis), all important recreational and commercial fish species in the Chesapeake Bay. Previous studies to reduce landing of small fish in haul seines used larger mesh net within the seine (FRG 2016), and a culling table onboard the boat (FRG 2017). These gear modifications resulted in modest reductions of bait fish in some trials.
The main objective of this project is to demonstrate a way that will reduce the catch of small baitfish in the commercial haul seine fishery through the use of an escape panel composed of larger than usually webbing in the pocket (holding pen) allowing fish to escape before being brought on board.
Trice, G. E. (2018) Determine methods to reduce bycatch of juvenile Atlantic Croaker (Micropogonias undulates) in haul seines. Fishery Resource Grant FRG 2018-11. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary. https://scholarworks.wm.edu/reports/2108