Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

VIMS Department/Program

Marine Advisory Program (MAP)

Publication Date



Fishery Resource Grant FRG 2017- 04


The juvenile Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus) population is being severely cut down in the summer months by haul seines in 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 Chesapeake Bay.

A previous study to reduce landing of small fish in haul seines used larger mesh within the seine (FRG 2016-05). This gear modification resulted in modest reductions of baitfish in some trials, but overall demonstrated no significant differences to a traditional haul seine (may be due to lack of small size). 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 a culling table placed on-board the fishing vessel and which separates the small baitfish from the rest of the catch and returns them back into the water alive.


Fishing gear