Utilizing acoustic telemetry, survey and genetic data to develop a population recovery strategy for Atlantic sturgeon

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1 Utilizing acoustic telemetry, survey and genetic data to develop a population recovery strategy for Atlantic sturgeon Michael G. Frisk School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Stony Brook University

2 NY DEC Project team

3 Atlantic Sturgeon Anadromous Large can reach 14 ft Long lived 60 years Late-maturing and intermittent spawners Males years Females years Juvenile marine migrant stage

4 Life History Spawn-May-June Larvae-June-August Early juvenile Juveniles Marine migrants Late juvenile adults Bain et al Eggs and larvae Adults Bain et al. 2000

5 T H

6 Landings (1,000 kg) The fishery Kahnle et al ASMFC Interstate Fishery Management Plan 1998 Amendment: 40 year moratorium

7 Gulf of Maine Atlantic Sturgeon Status Review Team Recommendations New York Bight Chesapeake Bay Carolina New York Bight, Chesapeake Bay, and Carolina, have a greater than 50% chance of becoming endangered within the next 20 years (Patrick and Damon-Randall 2007) South Atlantic (2007 ASSR)

8 Listed as endangered February 2012 Endangered: New York Bight, Chesapeake, Carolina, South Atlantic Threatened: Gulf of Maine

9 Recovery of Shortnose Sturgeon Listed as Endangered since 1967 Fully protected in Hudson River Bain et al. 2007

10 Why aren t Atlantic sturgeon recovering? NY Utilities Data Epibenthic Sled Abundance Early Juveniles CPUE NY Utilites Trawl Survey Juv Juveniles Abundance CPUE Hudson Valley Utilites data from NYDEC Bureau of Marine Resources

11 Are marine migrants the key to recovery? Intrinsic rate of population increase (r) most sensitive to changes in juvenile/subadult survival (Heppell et al. 1999; Frisk at al. 2005). Thus, management activities that increase the survival of this demographic will have the greatest overall impact (Crowder et al. 1994). Bain, 1997

12 Juveniles marine migrants are highly mobile Dovel and Berggren 1983

13 River Vs. Ocean

14 Marine migrants bycatch Dead Atlantic sturgeon commonly found on beach Bycatch? Current bycatch estimates 1,500/year (Stein et al., 2004) Genetics: Mixed stocks in Ocean (Dunton et al.,2012; Waldman et al., 1996)

15 Objective: Improve the general knowledge of Atlantic Sturgeon in the marine environment Part 1 Local temporal and spatial abundance and distribution Part 2 Coast-wide patterns Part 3 Telemetry of movements and migration Part 4 Spatial and temporal strategies to reduce bycatch

16 Part 1: Estimate temporal and spatial patterns of abundance off N.Y. Scientific survey : RV Seawolf Bottom trawl All seasons Depth stratified random design

17 Strong seasonal patterns Abundance

18 Strong spatial patterns

19 Targeted sampling: Aggregation area? Total = 4.10/tow Spring = 6.59/tow Fall = 2.20/tow May 2007 = 17.62/tow!

20 Do large catches indicate increases in abundance?

21 Combining behavior and demographics Pollock Fawn cusk-eel Acadian redfish Blackbelly rosefish q 30 Gulf stream flounder Atlantic mackerel Witch flounder Butterfish Yellowtail flounder Atlantic herring Northern sand lance Silver hake Windowpane Haddock American plaice Winter flounder Red hake Fourspot flounder Atlantic cod Moustache sculpin Longhorn sculpin Ocean pout Winter skate Thorny skate White hake Little skate Spiny dogfish High Medium Resilience Low Very low

22 Part 2: Utilize fisheries independent trawl surveys 1. New York Bottom Trawl Surveys ( ) 8 times per year 2. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ( ) 5 times per year 3. Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries ( ) Spring and Fall 4. Maine-New Hampshire bottom trawl survey ( ) Spring and Fall 5. National Marine Fisheries Service Bottom Trawl ( ) Spring and Fall Surveys ( ) additional winter/summer surveys

23 Regional survey coverage

24 Catch per unit effort for each survey CPUE (# of fish/tow) , , ,699 0 NY NJ ME-NH NMFS MA

25

26

27

28 Aggregation areas

29 Summary Atlantic sturgeon were largely confined to water depths less than 20 m. Aggregations tended to occur at the mouths of large bays and had strong temporal and spatial patterns. By understanding the time periods of localized aggregations and movements of Atlantic sturgeon, plans could be developed that minimize the interaction with fisheries within narrow corridors.

30 Part 3. Rockaway acoustic array Evaluate a hypothesized marine protection area Estimate timing and rates of retention and dispersal within aggregation area Evaluate management alternatives

31 Deploying array system

32 Acoustic telemetry

33 Data retrieval

34 Aggregation use: 24 tagged sturgeon Southern NY? NY NY? NY movement

35

36 Regional movements 41.6 % GWB 37.5% ER 12.5% KvK VZN 62.5 % 45.8 % 24 fish tagged 16.7% 54.2 % May 2010: N=24 fish tagged May 2011: Same fish

37 Regional movements 36% 10% 3.0% 51.5% 66 fish tagged May 2011: N=66 fish tagged

38 Expanded acoustic array system Hudson River (5) Montauk (8) Rockaway (21) Sandy Hook (20) Jones Beach (8) Fire Island (13) Shinnecock (13) Shark River (8) Barneget (13) Atlantic City (13) = Federal/State Boundary (3-mile limit)

39 Environmental driver: Temperature = temp logger = Federal/State Boundary (3-mile limit)

40 288 Atlantic sturgeon marine migrants tagged Length frequency of tagged fish

41 Aggregation use: 288 tagged sturgeon NY? NY Southern movement NY? NY

42 Aggregation use: 288 tagged sturgeon

43 Acoustic Arrays Hudson River (5) Montauk (8) Sandy Hook (20) Rockawa y (21) Shark River (8) Jones Beach (8) Fire Island (13) Shinneco ck (13) Barneget (13) Atlantic City (13) = Federal/State Boundary (3-mile limit)

44 Individual coastal movements

45 Individual coastal movements

46 Preliminary results Strong spatial and seasonal habitat use of aggregations. Sturgeon spend extended periods of time within the Hudson during summer and early fall, particularly north of the GWB and around the VZN. Some sturgeon utilize secondary water bodies associated with the Hudson, such as the East River and Kill van Kull.

47 Future research: telemetry Two more years of monitoring. Quantify timing of movement and variation among individuals. Estimate the probability of transitions among aggregation areas and determine migration drivers: Season Temperature Region of origin Demographics

48 Future research: Conservation Develop temporal and spatial management scenarios for prediction and avoidance of Atlantic sturgeon bycatch. Vs.

49 Recovery of Atlantic sturgeon We argue that understanding the temporal use and spatial extent of marine aggregation areas is vital to develop effective management policies. Protecting juvenile marine migrants is likely the key to restoring Atlantic sturgeon populations.

50 Data Sources Thanks Bill Kramer NMFS Don Byrne NJ DEP Kim McKown NY DEC John Sowles Maine Jeremy King - MDMF Mark Wiggins and Steve Cluett of the R/V Seawolf Frisk and Conover Labs NY DEC

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