And making good management decisions rests in large part on understanding the mortality of fish species – how many fish die each year as a result of natural causes and recreational and commercial fishing.
Now researchers at North Carolina State University have utilized a new research method that can give fishery managers a better idea of how fish are dying, so they can make informed decisions on how to ensure a healthy fish population.Fisheries scientists from NC State have, for the first time, implemented a research strategy that uses both "conventional" tags and ultrasonic telemetry tags (transmitters) to estimate mortality rates. The approach was used in a study on mortality rates of "sub-adult" red drum, which are red drum that are close to adult in size but have not yet begun to reproduce. However, the research methods pioneered in this study could be applied to many other species, including popular fish such as striped bass. Red drum are popular among recreational anglers in many parts of the country, and are also important to commercial fishermen in North Carolina.
The telemetry tags transmit uniquely coded sounds to receivers, allowing researchers to track fish movement in a given area. In this instance, the researchers were using both stationary receivers and mobile hydrophones to track tagged fish in the Neuse River estuary in eastern North Carolina, Buckel says. Telemetry tags provide excellent data on natural mortality, because the tags stop moving once the fish has died. These tags can also detect that a fish has been caught by commercial or recreational fishermen, because the tag will disappear from the study area without swimming past any of the receivers.
"The methodology we used in this study combined good natural mortality data from the telemetry tags with good recreational and commercial fishing mortality data from the conventional tags to give us a more precise estimate of overall mortality for sub-adult red drum," Buckel says. "This is important because, if you have a good understanding of mortality rates, you can make informed decisions about how to manage a fishery in order to ensure its long-term health." For example, the information generated by this study contributed to state and regional assessments of the red drum population.
"This is the first time this approach, using both kinds of tags, has been used in the field," Buckel says, "and it could have significant applications for other species, such as striped bass." One limitation is that the telemetry tags are only useful in relatively confined areas, such as lakes, estuaries or reservoirs – where researchers can place listening devices near exits to determine if a fish has left the waterbody on its own, rather than being caught by a fisherman.
The researchers, led by then-NC State Ph.D. student Nathan Bacheler, focused on sub-adult red drum because North Carolina only allows recreational and commercial fishermen to keep drum that are between 18 inches and 27 inches long. These fish are generally not old enough to reproduce. So researchers wanted to determine whether natural mortality and fishing mortality were limiting the long-term viability of the fishery. Good news fish fans: "Natural mortality was much lower than we previously assumed," Bacheler says, "and the fishing mortality was similar to previous estimates."
The research, "A combined telemetry – tag return approach to estimate fishing and natural mortality rates of an estuarine fish," was funded by North Carolina Sea Grant and is published in the August issue of the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. The study was co-authored by Bacheler, Buckel, NC State biology professors Dr. Joseph Hightower and Dr. Kenneth Pollock, and Lee Paramore of the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries.
Matt Shipman | EurekAlert!
Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta
Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.01.2018 | Life Sciences