That’s good news for the continued success of the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, a model of effective collaboration among scientists, resource managers, and commercial fishing interests that now sustains the most valuable wild scallop fishery in the world. U.S. scallop landings totaled $455.1 million in 2010 (latest available data).
The VIMS surveys are part of the Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program, a unique component of the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan in which commercial scallopers each year set aside proceeds from a portion of their “Total Allowable Catch” to fund scallop-related research. This year’s set aside is for 1.25 million pounds.
VIMS emeritus professor Bill DuPaul, a key figure in establishing the scientist-scalloper partnership in the mid-1980s, says “Scallops are currently valued at $9.35 per pound, so this year’s set-aside will fund more than $10 million of research.” The research is administered through a competitive grant program managed by the National Marine Fisheries Service with input on research priorities from industry advisors.
VIMS scientists, led by Dr. David Rudders of the Marine Advisory Services program at VIMS, successfully competed for five set-aside grants this year, earning funds to conduct high-resolution monitoring surveys in offshore scallop-management areas from Virginia to New England.
The VIMS surveys provide the data needed to determine the abundance and health of adult and juvenile scallops within several offshore zones that are managed on a rotating basis. These so-called “closed areas”—the DelMarVa, Elephant Trunk, Hudson Canyon, Nantucket Lightship, and Georges Bank I and II—are opened to fishing when surveys show a sufficient adult population, and closed when the adult population reaches a pre-defined threshold or when surveys show a large number of young scallops.
Restricting access to the juvenile seed scallops allows scallopers to take advantage of the bivalve’s rapid growth between three and five years of age, when the animals more than double in weight. By waiting, the scallopers get more meat per shell and a more profitable product.
Rudders, DuPaul, and VIMS technician Jessica Bergeron conduct their surveys aboard commercial scallop vessels using a pair of dredges—an 8-foot survey dredge with 2-inch rings and a liner to allow for sampling of the small seed scallops, and a unlined, 14- or 15-foot commercial dredge with 4-inch rings to facilitate comparison with commercial catches. The standard length for each dredge tow is one nautical mile. Each survey trip takes seven to nine days depending on weather and other “unpredictables.”
The team’s reports of unprecedented numbers of seed scallops come from the first pair of this year’s five scallop-monitoring surveys. The first survey took place between April 18-26 within the DelMarVa Closed Area aboard the F/V Stephanie B II out of Seaford, Virginia. The second took place from May 4-9 within the Hudson Canyon Closed Area aboard the F/V Kathy Ann out of Barnaget Light, New Jersey.
DuPaul notes that the team “observed a record-breaking number of scallop seed in both closed areas, including a tow in the northern part of the Hudson Canyon Closed Area that returned more than 13,000 seed.” To put that in perspective, says Rudders “Anything over 100 seed scallops per tow is pretty good, anything above 1,000 is excellent, and anything above 10,000 is remarkable." He adds, "in the course of the work that has been done at VIMS, this was certainly the most seed scallops over a wide area that we have ever observed."
“Our findings are important,” says DuPaul, “because they indicate a successful ‘recruitment’ of one- to two-year-old seed scallops. The Mid-Atlantic scallop resource hasn’t had a significant recruitment event in the past several years, which was clearly worrisome. To see the really small seed is very encouraging, as we don’t often see them at all.”
Because the smaller, year-old scallops are more susceptible to predation, their large numbers don’t guarantee a corresponding increase in future adult populations. But the presence of large numbers of two-year-old scallops is encouraging, as these have a reasonable chance of growing to adult size.
“The two-year-old scallops should generate significant commercial catches in three years,” says DuPaul, “when they are around five years old. The areas of highest seed abundance will be protected from commercial harvest and be designated as a closed area. When the areas open, they will be designated as ‘access areas’ with set harvest limits.”
The team’s next survey begins this week, when they plan to embark from New Bedford, Massachusetts aboard the F/V Celtic for a weeklong trip to the Nantucket Lightship Closed Area. Their two remaining surveys will take place later this spring within the northern part of Georges Bank Closed Area II and the inshore areas west of the Hudson Canyon Closed Area.
The official reports that are generated from the team's 2012 scallop surveys will be presented and reviewed at the August meeting of the New England Fishery Management Council Scallop Plan Development Team. The results will be used for scallop management in 2013 and 2014.
David Malmquist | Newswise Science News
Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University
Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.11.2017 | Life Sciences