Document Type

Report

Department/Program

Virginia Institute of Marine Science

VIMS Department/Program

Marine Advisory Program (MAP)

Publication Date

2009

Series

Fishery Resource Grant FRG 2009- 07

Abstract

The striped bass fishery is of great economic importance to Virginia's commercial finfishermen and anchored gill nets are the predominant gear used in both coastal and estuarine waters. Unfortunately, these nets have the highest rate of Atlantic Sturgeon bycatch (85%) compared to other Virginia gear types (NMFS) and the second largest bycatch recorded by NMFS Northeast Observer Network coastally. High Atlantic sturgeon interaction rates could result in seriously restrictive regulations being imposed on the fishery or even complete closure, once Atlantic sturgeon are listed under the Endangered Species Act as has been proposed. Recognizing this important threat to the fishery, Virginia commercial fishermen have proposed continued proactive collection of sturgeon bycatch and research into means of reducing these gear interactions. This work is also integral to collection of biological data necessary to laying the foundation for restoration and improved protection of the species. Our breadth of knowledge on gillnet bycatch has led us to the point where we are actually testing and engineering solutions based on gear alterations.

Keywords

Fishing gear, striped bass, sturgeon, bycatch

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