Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Marine Advisory Program (MAP)
Fishery Resource Grant FRG 2016- 05
The juvenile Atlantic Croaker Micropogonias undulatus population is being severely cut down by haul seines in the Chesapeake Bay during the summer months (May-September). On more than one occasion haul seine crews return to the fish houses with upwards of 10,000 pounds of fish. These juvenile fish are composed of mostly but not limited to croaker. Other species of fish include Spot Leiostomus xanthurus, Spotted Seatrout Cynoscion nebulosus, and Weakfish Cynoscion regalis. Out of these fish it is not uncommon for over seventy-five percent to be deemed too small. Juvenile croaker and other species under a quarter pound are only sellable for the bait market, which is of low value. Further, the amount of bait fish that is harvested annually would be worth a much greater value in the years to come if they are left to grow larger.
Previous projects have tried to reduce by-catch of juvenile fish by adding an "escape panel" to the pocket. The issue faced with the escape panels is that once fish are herded into the pocket they begin schooling. Once the Fish begin to school they avoid the walls of the pocket at all costs completely avoiding the escape panels.
The main objective of this project was to cut down on by-catch of juvenile croaker harvested during the summer months in haul seines throughout the Chesapeake Bay.
Trice V, G. E. (2017) Determine Methods to Reduce By-Catch of Juvenile Atlantic Croaker (Micropogonias undulates) in Haul Seines. Fishery Resource Grant FRG 2016- 05. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary. https://scholarworks.wm.edu/reports/2125