New Jersey’s Coastal Estuaries Inventory – Project Years 1-3

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New Jersey’s Coastal Estuaries Inventory – Project Years 1-3

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Title: New Jersey’s Coastal Estuaries Inventory – Project Years 1-3
Author: Sullivan, Mark; Evert, Steve; Ruppel, Bruce
Abstract: This project engaged Stockton University faculty, staff, and students to collect year-round haul seine data and a local commercial fisher (stakeholder) to supply seasonal fyke net data over a 3-year period (2016–2019) to record the aquatic species present in the Mullica River-Great Bay (MRGB) estuary (NJ) for the NJDEP Marine Fisheries program. In total, 485 haul seine samples were collected, and 170,375 individual finfish/invertebrates were inventoried representing 95 unique species. During the winter/spring sampling efforts, 212 fyke net samples collected by a commercial partner inventoried 14,667 individuals from 39 species leading to a comparison of the sample method effectiveness for generating a more comprehensive inventory survey. The dominant species collected were Atlantic Menhaden (n=81,968), Atlantic Silverside (n=41,234), Bay Anchovy (n=15,796), and White Perch (n=14,641). Young-of-the-year (YOY) tracking from length frequency and seasonal “split” timing (spring, summer) data for Bluefish (n=1,252) showed age/size differences. White Perch were tracked from low salinity, shallow nursery grounds in summer (seine nets) to deeper bay environments in winter (fyke nets). Several Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) managed species were collected. Striped Bass (n=272) appeared in both gears and provided YOY-age 1 samples for otolith microchemistry. Winter Flounder (n=740) and Summer Flounder (n=1,244) exhibited similar settlement patterns (inlet-bay, bay-river respectively) and reliably appeared in both gear types. Weakfish (n=3) was almost completely absent from both gear types. Of managed herring species, Alewife (n=426) dominated the winter/spring migration (fyke) and YOY summer recruitment (seine). Surprisingly, seine collections did not reveal an abundance of southern and/or expatriated species. However, winter fyke catches highlighted species that typically out migrate during the fall to offshore water or to warmer waters south, such as Summer Flounder and Atlantic Menhaden, respectively. Data obtained from utilizing fyke nets shows the importance of pairing collection methods and partners to sample suboptimal, data-poor time periods.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10929/93741
Date: 2021-04


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