Bycatch of Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon in....
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GRANT NUMBER:  NA37FD0080           NMFS NUMBER:   92-SER-017

REPORT TITLE: Bycatch of Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon in the South Carolina Shad Fishery

AUTHOR:  Collins, M.R. and Smith, Theodore I. J.

PUBLISH DATE:  December 1, 1994

AVAILABLE FROM:  National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Southeast Region, 9721 Executive Center Drive, North Koger Building, St. Petersburg, FL 33702.  PHONE: (813) 570-5324


The sturgeon bycatch of the commercial American shad set gill net fishery in Winyah Bay, South Carolinas was documented during the 1994 season. Examination of the bycatch from 2,561 net-hr of effort resulted in examination of 23 Atlantic (57-132 cm TL, nominal ages 2-7 years from pectoral spine sections) and 4 shortnose (57-90 cm TL) sturgeons, for a CPUE of 0.011 sturgeon/net-hr. Three Atlantic sturgeon were dead and four were lightly to severely injured. Total fishing effort in the study area during the 1994 season was estimated (using overflights) as 10,536 net-hr, permitting an expansion of the bycatch to an estimated 115 sturgeon (85% Atlantic), of which it was estimated that 12 died in the nets and 17 were released with varying injuries. All fish released alive were tagged, and two Atlantic sturgeon were recaptured. It was experimentally documented for Atlantic sturgeon that clipped barbels (for genetic samples) regenerate and wounds from pectoral spine removal (for ageing) heal readily. Substantial progress was made in establishing a computer data base of all available information on the distribution and occurrence of sturgeons in South Carolina waters; more than 3,000 individuals are now on record.

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