National Fisherman

Every spring when baby eels drift into the Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic, then swim like mad up tributary rivers and creeks toward fresh water, Troy Tuckey is waiting for them.
The researcher with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Gloucester Point sets up Irish elver boxes at four critical points along major rivers to capture, count, measure, weigh and release the babies — called glass eels for their thin, translucent bodies, about the width of a pencil lead.
It's a survey he's conducted for the past 13 years on the James, York and Rappahannock rivers, on the lookout for early warning signs the species is in trouble.
In recent years, signs in Virginia and elsewhere indicate it is.
"The American eel was one of the most abundant fish species," Tuckey said, stretching back to when Native Americans taught early European settlers at Jamestown how to "stomp" eels out of the mud.
But last year a coastwide benchmark stock assessment called the American eel population in U.S. waters "depleted." It blamed an array of factors, including overfishing, predation, turbine deaths from hydroelectric dams, changes in the food web, pollution and disease. Fluctuating market prices can also cause commercial landings to flounder.
The Chesapeake Bay has typically yielded 63 percent of the annual U.S. commercial harvest of American eel, Tuckey said. But in 2007 commercial landings in Virginia and Maryland represented only 52 percent.
"There are lots of different data sources that show that abundances are down," said Tuckey.
Read the full story at Daily Press>>

Inside the Industry

The anti-mining group Salmon Beyond Borders expressed disappointment and dismay last week at Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s announcement that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

This came just days after his administration asked members of his newly-formed Transboundary Rivers Citizens Advisory Work Group to provide comment on a Draft Statement of Cooperation associated with Transboundary mining.


NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.

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