Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Oyster reefs provide habitat for finfish and their prey. Our project focused on determining the impacts of oyster reef restoration on finfish in the Harris Creek Oyster Sanctuary in the Maryland portion of Chesapeake Bay. As a preliminary step, we examined the utility of using trawls in the place of gillnets to sample finfish but found that trawl samples were also highly variable and that the diets of finfish caught in trawls tended to be different than those caught in gillnets. Based on these findings and the fact that gillnets can be set within reef habitats, all remaining sampling was conducted using gillnets.
To assess differences in finfish abundance on oyster reef compared to adjacent non-reef habitats, we used pairs of gillnets to determine catch per unit effort (CPUE). Of the species captured, only white perch showed significantly higher CPUE in reef habitats than in adjacent non-reef habitats. Using only data from on-reef sites, we examined the effect of reef type (restored vs. non-restored) on finfish CPUE. Reef type had no significant effect on CPUE for white perch or striped bass.
Oyster reefs, white perch, striped bass
A final report to: NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office
Award Number: NA14NMF4570278 | Award Period: March 1, 2015 – February 28, 2019
Kellogg, M. L., Ross, P. G., Pant, M., Dreyer, J. C., Birch, A., Fate, S., & Smith, E. (2019) Oyster reef ecosystem services: Finfish utilization and trophic linkages Harris Creek, Maryland, USA. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, William & Mary. doi: 10.25773/2pph-j688