American Fisheries Society Mid-Atlantic Chapter – Fall Meeting

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					    American Fisheries Society
Mid-Atlantic Chapter – Fall Meeting
Adventure Aquarium, Camden, NJ

  November 13, 2008

    8:00 AM—3:00 PM
                                    Agenda                                          1:40 Evaluating Catch, Effort, and Bag Limits on Summer Flounder Directed

8:00 Registration and social hour (coffee)                                          in the Recreational Summer Flounder Party Boat Fishery, Eleanor A.
                                                                                    Bochenek*, Eric N. Powell and Sarah King, Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory,
                                                                                    Rutgers University, John DePersenaire, Recreational Fishing Alliance
9:00 Welcome Greg Charbeneau, Executive Director, Adventure Aquarium
                                                                                    2:00 Oceanic Distribution Patterns in Winter Flounder: A Preliminary Analysis
                     Craig A. Woolcott, Chapter President
                                                                                    of Response to Climate Change, Joan Pravatiner* and Kenneth W. Able, Institute
                                                                                    of Marine and Coastal Sciences (IMCS), Rutgers University Marine Field Station
9:25 Research on Conservation of Bangaii cardinalfish, Alex Vagelli, NJ Academy
of Aquatic Sciences
                                                                                    2:30 Business Meeting (agenda below)

9:45 Summer Flounder Management under the Magnuson-Stevens Act; Politics,
Science, and One Very Popular Flatfish, Jessica M. Coakley, Fishery Plan            3:30 Adjourn
Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council

10:05 Genetic Diversity of Wild Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) Populations                Business Meeting Agenda
in New Jersey: Conservation and Management Implications, Patricia L. Hamilton,
NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife
                                                                                    Call to Order
                                                                                    Reading and Approval of the Minutes
10:25 Weakfish Stock Status Meets the Equilibrium Paradigm of Fisheries
Biology, Desmond Kahn*, Victor Crecco, and Jim Uphoff, Delaware Division of Fish    Reports of Officers
& Wildlife                                                                                    President
                                                                                              Secretary-Treasurer (Read by President-Elect)
10:45 Break/Optional Aquarium Tour                                                  Reports of Committees and Special Appointments
                                                                                              Awards Committee
11:30 Floating Oyster (Crassostrea Virginica) Gardens Facilitate Oyster                       Nominating Committee
Recruitment and Provide Habitat for Commercial and Recreational Fishery
Species in Delaware’s Inland Bays, F. Marenghi* and G. Ozbay, Department of                   Chapter Webmaster
Agriculture and Natural Resources, Delaware State University, J. Ewart2, Delaware             Student Representative
Center for the Inland Bays, and E.J. Chalabala3, Delaware Aquaculture Resource
Center, Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, Graduate College of Marine and Earth     Unfinished Business
Studies                                                                             New Business
                                                                                              Development of Chapter Procedural Manual (Update: Pat Hamilton)
11:50 Occurrence and abundance of larval Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia                        Other business items
tyrannus) along the coast of NJ, John A Quinlan Ph.D., Principal Scientist,
Normandeau Associates                                                                         Emerging In-Stream Flow Policy
                                                                                              AFS NED Donation
12:15 Lunch (Catered) – Aquarium Open to Participants                                         Fall Raffle/Duck Stamp Print Award
                                                                                              Nomination/Election of President-Elect
1:15 Delaware Bay Stock Assessment of Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica)                  Nomination/Election of President
and Juvenile Recruitment using Dredge Calibration, Bellamy Reynolds*, Keleigh
                                                                                              Spring 2009 Meeting
Provost, and Gulnihal Ozbay, Delaware State University Department of Agriculture
and Related Sciences                                                                Adjournment
                     FISHERIES BIOLOGY

                   Desmond Kahn, Victor Crecco, and Jim Uphoff

The paradigm of equilibrium thinking is typical of modern fisheries stock
assessments and management. This concept assumes that the environment and stock
productivity is constant and can essentially be ignored, and that any changes in stock
status are caused by changes in fishing mortality. Indeed the methodology employed
assures that fishing mortality will be seen as the cause of changes ins tock status,
whether it actually is or not. One concrete example is the assumption of constant
natural mortality in stock assessments. The 2006 stock assessment of weakfish did
rely on equilibrium assumptions. Weakfish have declined to a relatively low level
beginning in the late 1990s, reflected in the decline in landings from North Carolina
through southern New England. Recruitment of YOY weakfish has not declined, as
estimated by research trawl surveys used to estimate indices of Young-of-year (YOY)
relative abundance. Consequently, reduced survival must have caused the decline.
VPA supports this. Use of relative F to estimate trends in fishing mortality avoids
making assumptions about the level and trends in natural mortality. Conversely, using
Virtual Population Analysis (VPA) assumes that natural mortality is known and
constant. VPA can produce biased estimates of fishing mortality if natural mortality
changes. When estimated via relative F, coastwide fishing mortality on weakfish has
not increased significantly since 1995, and thus could not be responsible for the
decline in survival. Scaling the relative fishing mortality to absolute fishing mortality
by use of the fishing mortality produced for the period when natural mortality appears
to have been roughly constant indicates that recent fishing mortality has been
reasonably low. The conclusion is that natural mortality has increased significantly,
and increased predation and competition by striped bass has held up as a viable
hypothesis after extensive statistical and modeling analyses. One implication is that
biological reference points based on the assumption of constant M are not valid.
Title: Genetic Diversity of Wild Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) Populations in New
Jersey: Conservation and Management Implications

Author: Patricia L. Hamilton, NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife

Abstract: Wild, reproducing populations of brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, occur in
many headwater streams in the forested hills and mountains of northern New Jersey.
NJDFW has documented wild brook trout populations in nearly 130 streams since 1968.
Over the last century, non-native strains of brook trout propagated in hatcheries have
been widely stocked in New Jersey waters to provide recreation. Does New Jersey still
have ancestral brook trout, dubbed “heritage” brook trout, which are descendants of fish
that colonized this area after the last glacier retreated, or has widespread stocking of
hatchery brook trout affected the gene pools of presumed native brook trout? Molecular
genetics were used to assess differences in New Jersey’s wild brook trout populations and
provide insight on the ancestral origin of these populations. Brook trout collected from
22 streams, representing 4 major river drainages, and 1 trout hatchery were analyzed
using 13 microsatellite DNA loci. This study revealed (1) distinct genetic structuring of
brook trout in two drainages (Passaic and Raritan), (2) genetically distinguishable
populations in all four drainages, and (3) the influence of hatchery stocking on one
population. These results have important implications for managing and conserving New
Jersey’s wild brook trout populations and the natural ecosystems they depend upon.
Specific management practices and conservation strategies have been developed and
implemented to conserve wild brook trout populations in New Jersey, but can more be
done? Balancing brook trout conservation and recreational trout fisheries that rely upon
hatchery supplementation continues to challenge fisheries managers.

F. Marenghi1, G. Ozbay1, J. Ewart2, and E.J. Chalabala3
 Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Delaware State University, 1200 North
DuPont Hwy, Dover, Delaware 19901
 Delaware Aquaculture Resource Center, Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program
Graduate College of Marine and Earth Studies, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes, Delaware 19958
    Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, 39375 Inlet Road, Rehoboth, Delaware 19971

        Beginning in 2003, the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays (CIB) has operated its oyster
(Crassostrea virginica) gardening program for restoration in the coastal lagoons of southeastern
Delaware, collectively termed the “Inland Bays,” with great success and increasing community
support. For the last two years, with partnership efforts of CIB and Delaware Sea Grant Marine
Advisory Program, Delaware State University has been conducting quantitative assessments of
the habitat value of floating oyster gardens to fishes and invertebrates to determine some of the
ecological changes brought upon this degraded ecosystem. Some of the general findings of the
last two years include the use of these semi-artificial habitats by blue crab (Callinectes sapidus),
American eel (Anguilla rostrata), mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus), summer flounder
(Paralichthys dentatus), spotted sea-trout (Cynoscion nebulosus), bay anchovy (Anchoa
mitchilli), and oyster toadfish (Opsanus tao). Many of these species are habitat-limited in the
Inland Bays estuary due to direct and indirect loss of tidal wetlands and oyster and seagrass beds,
particularly important as juvenile feeding and staging areas. Floating oyster gardens are also
habitat for important forage species. To date, over 40 species of fishes and invertebrates have
been collected in direct association with floating oyster gardens, greatly contributing to the
diversity of the native ecological community, especially in the severely impacted areas of the
Inland Bays. Additionally through this research, wild oysters have been discovered on rip-rap in
several locations including Little Assawoman Bay, the southernmost of the three Inland Bays.
Furthermore, newly settled juvenile oysters have been found within floating oyster gear in the
man-made, residential canal systems. This is the first time there has been an “official” report of
oyster recruitment in Little Assawoman Bay for decades. Measurable effects like these coupled
with essential and continuing community involvement makes this program a vital component of
the oyster restoration effort in Delaware and should be strongly encouraged and expanded in the
   Evaluating Catch, Effort, and Bag Limits on Summer Flounder Directed Trips
             in the Recreational Summer Flounder Party Boat Fishery

Eleanor A. Bochenek, Eric N. Powell, John DePersenaire, and Sarah King

        Summer flounder support an important recreational fishery along the Mid-
Atlantic coast. The stock is rebuilding and the recreational fishery has occasionally
exceeded harvest limits forcing managers to constrain landings to stay within the quota
by increasing size limits and decreasing bag limits. The goal was to evaluate innovate
approaches to bag and size limits that would reduce discard mortality, increase angler
satisfaction, and limit recreational take to management objectives. A slot-limit, reduced-
minimum-size, and cumulative-size scenarios and a control (current state regulations)
were studied on party boat fishing trips from New Jersey and New York. Depth fished,
elapsed drift time, angler number, drift time-of-day, fishing scenario, effort, and catch
were analyzed. Average elapsed drift time and total catch tended to vary significantly
between boats. A positive correlation existed between catch and number of anglers and
between fishing effort and total catch. Fishing mortality was higher for the experimental
scenarios. The control had the highest discard-to-catch ratio and kept the fewest fish. The
slot-limit scenario was intermediate and the reduced-minimum-size and cumulative-size
scenarios kept more fish and had the lowest discard-to-catch ratios. The slot-limit
scenario may be a viable option for managers to reduce discarding and to stay within
landing limits.
                    Are Atlantic menhaden Responding to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation? 

Larval Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) were collected during weekly ichthyological sampling beginning in 
1984 and continuing through 2004 on the coast of New Jersey. The collection exhibits a shift in the timing of 
occurrence and the abundance of menhaden larvae beginning in 1995. This shift coincides with changes observed 
in the physical measurements taken during sampling, as well as with changes in both the North Atlantic Oscillation 
and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation indices. These observations, and those found in ancillary data sources from 
along the east coast of the United States, are indicative of a change in the location and timing of Atlantic 
menhaden spawning in the Middle Atlantic Bight, a change in transport leading to the delivery of larval menhaden 
to the estuary, or both. These changes, which also appear to be coincidental with the onset of ‘recruitment 
failures’, in Atlantic menhaden may mark a significant change in the population dynamics of the species. 


John A Quinlan  
Normandeau Associates, Inc.  
400 Old Reading Pike, Building A, Suite 101 
Stowe, PA 1946403781 
Delaware Bay Stock Assessment of Eastern Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) and
Juvenile Recruitment using Dredge Calibration.

Bellamy Reynolds*, Keleigh Provost, and Gulnihal Ozbay

Delaware State University
Department of Agriculture and Related Sciences
1200 North Dupont Highway, Dover, Delaware 19901

*Graduate Student Presenter

Annually, Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation
(DNREC) conducts a survey of the Delaware Bay Eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica)
population to set quotas for the next fishing season. As a result of historical over-harvest and
disease, there has been a large decline in Eastern Oyster abundance within the Delaware Bay,
and it has become much more important to be as precise and accurate in the setting of the annual
quota. In an effort to quantify and reduce the amount of bias due to the equipment, a dredge
calibration study was conducted in conjunction with a more in depth approach of sorting samples
collected during the stock assessment. Dredge calibration compares materials that makeup both
diver and dredge samples, which are collected along parallel transects and represent the bottom
material for a known area. The resulting comparison of amount of material collected in the
dredge and by the divers allows one to calculate dredge efficiency for each type of material on
each bed. The variance in dredge efficiency for different types of materials is important because
the number of boxes, or dead oysters still attached at the hinge, is commonly used to assess
annual mortality. Once the dredge calibration is complete, the results are then applied to the
findings of the stock assessment survey, to find a total biomass of oysters on each bed as well as
a total biomass of oysters in Delaware waters. With the results from this study of the biomass of
oysters on each bed and the juvenile recruitment rate, managers will be able to take a more
adaptive approach and develop management strategies based on the individual tendencies of each
oyster bed. Results for the 2007 dredge calibration showed that quite large differences in the
efficiencies for different types of materials, ranging from a 9.8% error for live market sized
(>2.75”) oysters to 21.7% error for market sized boxes, or dead oysters greater than 2.75” that
are still connected at the hinge. The stock assessment that we conducted in conjunction with
DNREC, which we applied the dredge efficiency data to, showed large differences in the
abundance of oysters of different size classes between beds. For example, live market sized
oyster abundance varied between 5.5 oysters per m2 in the Persimmon Tree bed to 40.2 oysters
per m2 at the Woodland Beach bed. Data for 2008 is currently being collected, and will be
discussed. The study results are expected to provide the most accurate data pool to assist
managers and policy makers setting the duration and quotas for the fishing in Delaware waters.
Summer Flounder Management Under the Magnuson-Stevens Act; Politics, Science, and
One Very Popular Flatfish

Jessica M. Coakley

Controversy has surrounded summer flounder science and management since the joint
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC)/Atlantic States Marine Fisheries
Commission (ASMFC) Fishery Management Plan (FMP) was approved in 1988.
Unfortunately, 1988 was also the year of recruitment failure in the summer flounder
stock. These important commercial and recreational flatfisheries were highly dependent
on incoming recruitment at that time; commercial and recreational landings dropped
dramatically in 1990. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC)
responded to these declines by developing Amendment 2 (1993) that contained a number
of management measures including a rebuilding schedule, commercial quotas,
recreational harvest limits, size limits, gear restrictions, and permit and reporting
requirements. The rebuilding program was revised in 2000 and although the summer
flounder stock has responded dramatically to the management measures, it has not yet
rebuilt. In 2006, the Magnuson-Steven Act was revised and included a provision to
extend the summer flounder rebuilding deadline by three years (to January 1, 2013). The
stock is still rebuilding, 2013 is on the horizon, and the controversy burns as brightly as
Oceanic Distribution Patterns in Winter Flounder: a Preliminary Analysis of
                       Response to Climate Change
                              Joan Pravatiner and Kenneth W. Able

     Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University Marine Field Station, 800
                          c/o 132 Great Bay Blvd., Tuckerton, NJ, 08087

Winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) are historically cited as occurring from

Georgia, USA, to Labrador, Canada, most commonly north of Delaware Bay. This distribution

can be attributed in part to a known heat sensitivity and preference for cooler waters. Spawning

occurs in inshore areas from late winter into early spring. Spawning success is also temperature-

sensitive, with a decrease in spawning frequency associated with warmer waters and apparent

cessation at higher temperatures. The continuing increase in oceanic temperatures may stress

spawning. Such an effect would be expected to exhibit more rapidly in the shallow inshore

waters and estuaries where breeding occurs. Analysis of long-term trawl survey data, taken by

the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) of the National Marine Fisheries Service

(NMFS) from 1982-2008, shows a winter flounder distribution shift that may be a response to

temperature. The southernmost range experienced a general decrease in numbers, while some

northern waters, particularly around Massachussetts, appeared to gain in abundance. However,

known overfishing in the Mid-Atlantic Bight cannot be discounted as a possible contributing

factor; nor can other possible factors such as spawning habitat degradation. Further analysis of

other long-term species abundance data surveys, particularly more local, population based data,

would give a better idea of possible response to climate change in winter flounder.

Directions for entering the NJ Aquarium:

Your guests are going to go inside to the Main Entrance of the
Aquarium. Everyone will be greeted by Mercedes (your contact for the
day) and she will direct you to the room. There will also be signs in the
Aquarium to lead your guests to the Skyline Room.

If you have any additional questions please let me know.

Have a great day!

Alyssa J. McDade
Facility Sales Coordinator
Adventure Aquarium
1 Aquarium Drive
Camden, NJ 08103
P: 856.365-3300 x. 7281
F: 856.365.3311

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Description: American Fisheries Society Mid-Atlantic Chapter – Fall Meeting