Bycatch of Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeons....
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GRANT NUMBER:  NA67FD0032           NMFS NUMBER:   95-SER-011

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

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

PUBLISH DATE:  September 1996

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


Information on incidental capture of shortnose sturgeons, Acispenser brevirostrum, and Atlantic sturgeons, A. oxyrhynchus, in commercial fisheries was derived from four studies conducted in South Carolina and Georgia.  In a Georgia study, 97 of 1,534 tagged juvenile Atlantic sturgeons and 12 of 551 tagged shortnose sturgeons were reported recaptured in commercial nets.  Gill net fisheries for American shad, Alosa sapidissima, accounted for 52% of Atlantic sturgeons and 83% of shortnose sturgeons   recaptured, and the trawl fishery for shrimp, Penaeus spp., was responsible for 39% of Atlantic sturgeon and 8% of shortnose sturgeon recaptured.  In the other three studies, catch-per-unit-effort estimates for the American shad gill net fishery varied from 0.003 to 0.137 sturgeons per 91.4 m of gill net per hour.  Most Atlantic sturgeons were less than 150 cm in total length (juveniles), and most shortnose sturgeons exceeded 55 cm in total length (mature or nearly so).  The ration of shortnose to Atlantic sturgeons in the shad fishery bycatch increased with inland distance form the ocean.  In a South Carolina study, 16% of 51 sturgeons captured incidentally in gill nets died outright and another 20% were injured.

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