Experimental Monitoring of Virginia Artificial Reefs Using Fishermen's Catch Data
Catch and effort data were compiled in 1987–1988 from recreational fishing trips targeting artificial reefs and other structure sites in Virginia waters. Data were collected from boatowning fishermen by a random telephone survey. Within target species groups, catch rates were compared among five fishing sites inside Chesapeake Bay and two offshore reefs. Fishermen's target species options were more diverse at estuarine (bay) sites, primarily the result of Sciaenidae species (Leiostomus xanthurus, Micropogonias undulatus, and Cynoscion regalis) and Paralichthys dentatus. The Gwynn's Island Test Reef, closest to mid-bay, provided significantly higher mean catch rates of L. xanthurus in 1988 than lower bay sites. Mean catch rates of Tautoga onitis at the “mid-bay” site were equivalent in both study years to those at most lower bay sites as well as two offshore reefs. Mean catch rates of Centropristis striata were generally higher at offshore sites compared to bay sites. Regarding indices of fishing experience quality, lower bay sites ranked relatively close for trips targeting a mixed Sciaenidae-P. dentatus species group. Based upon fishing trips targeting C. striata-T. onitis, the mid-bay reef and one lower bay structure site ranked above offshore reefs. Mean catch rates of “desirable” species at the mid-bay reef compared favorably in 1987 with results of a fishery-independent monitoring study of the same site. The telephone survey technique, while needing refinements, showed promise as a monitoring tool for evaluating relative fishing performance of reefs and other structure sites.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1994-09-01
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