Tag Archives: Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Chesapeake crab count up, but fewer watermen catching them

Stocks of blue crab in the Chesapeake Bay are up from last year by an estimated 60 percent, the best it’s been in six years, according to a group of experts from state and federal agencies and academic institutions. “The winter dredge survey results indicate a strong year ahead for blue crab,”,,, And while that’s good news for watermen, there are fewer of them actually out fishing for crabs in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. >click to read< 18:48

Blue crab stock healthy with above average abundance

Results from the latest Blue Crab Winter Dredge Survey — conducted annually by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Maryland Department of Natural Resources — show the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab stock remains healthy and able to support quality commercial and recreational harvests. The results — available due to months of field sampling and laboratory analysis by VIMS researchers Mike Seebo, Katie Knick, Gabby Saluta, Alison Smith, and colleagues at Maryland DNR — were announced by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and Maryland DNR leadership. >click to read<21:22

Watermen get say on how to tackle ‘ghost pots’ in the Chesapeake Bay

“Ghost pots” remain a menace in the Chesapeake Bay, but how big a menace and what to do about them is anybody’s guess. That could change now that the 1,056 hard crab fishermen licensed in Virginia are getting a chance to have their say. Researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science are mailing surveys to watermen asking for their ideas on the countless crab pots that, for any number of reasons, end up haunting the bay, trapping and killing crabs and other hapless creatures that crawl or swim inside. >click to read<14:58

Chesapeake Bay surveys show striped bass doing just fine

Virginia and Maryland say seine surveys conducted over the summer show young-of-year stripers – those spawned this past spring – top historic averages and signal good fishing for commercial and recreational anglers in a few years. Mary Fabrizio, who heads Virginia’s survey, said annual sampling has important economic and ecological value and helps in managing the species. “By estimating the relative number of young-of-year striped bass, our survey provides an important measure of annual and long-term trends in the bay’s striped bass population,” >click to read<15:36

Solution to Lobster Shell Disease Remains Elusive, Blindness is also a growing concern

Despite more than 20 years of declining lobster populations in southern New England and extensive studies of the shell disease that is a major factor in their decline, scientists are still struggling to provide definitive answers to help restore hope to those working in the local lobster fishery. A new study of lobsters along the eastern Connecticut coast has found that the disease is linked to warming water temperatures, while progress is slow in efforts to identify probiotics to counteract the disease and to better understand why so many lobsters are blind. >click to read<11:37

Lost Crab Pots: Not as Bad as We Thought?

Back in 2016, a team of scientists from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science said watermen lost an astounding number—145,000 crab pots, leading to the deaths of millions of dollars’ worth of crabs trapped in those pots. But a different panel of scientists says it’s not as bad as they originally thought. Glenn Davis, who chairs the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee, told a winter meeting of fisheries managers that the VIMS numbers are wrong.,,, But once the VIMS study was out there, it was hard to take back. And sure enough, somebody tried to monetize it.>click to read<09:05

Juvenile striped bass maintain average abundance in Virginia waters in 2017

Preliminary results from an ongoing long-term survey conducted by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science suggest an average year class of young-of-year striped bass was produced in Virginia tributaries of Chesapeake Bay in 2017. The 2017 year class represents the group of fish hatched this spring that will grow to fishable sizes in 3 to 4 years. The program, formally known as the Juvenile Striped Bass Seine Survey, recorded a mean value of 8.98 fish per seine haul in the Virginia portion of Chesapeake Bay, which is similar to the historic average of 7.77 fish per seine haul. click here to read the story 08:16

In Chesapeake Bay’s changing ecosystem, blue crab is king (and moving north)

In the face of an evolving ecosystem, experts agree many of the differences in Chesapeake Bay marine life can – at least in part – be attributed to a worldwide warming trend. Over the last three decades, water temperatures in the Chesapeake Bay have increased about 1.5 degrees Celsius, or about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, said Rom Lipcius, professor of marine science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. The change means populations of many native sea creatures in the Chesapeake have moved or expanded north in search of cooler water temperatures, and other non-native creatures have moved in. As the warming trend continues, experts say some marine species will thrive as others struggle to survive in the face of temperature, environment and predator and prey changes. “It’s not all bad news, and it’s not all good news,” said Jon Hare, science and research director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center. “There are both winners and losers in this situation.” There have been a number of species, including blue crab, scup and black sea bass, that have shifted or extended northward along the Atlantic coast, said Hare. Read the story here 08:35

Virginia Institute of Marine Science Orders Research Vessel

Virginia Institute of Marine Science of Gloucester Point, Va. awarded a contract to Meridien Maritime Reparation of Matane, Quebec to construct a 93-foot research vessel. JMS Naval Architects of Mystic, Conn. designed the research vessel to replace VIMS’s current vessel, the R/V Bay Eagle. The primary mission of the Institute’s fleet is to provide inshore and offshore work platforms for the support of fisheries related oceanographic research projects. The new vessel will be capable of conducting fisheries assessments of greater capacity, in deeper waters and with a larger science complement than the Bay Eagle. In addition, the new vessel will greatly expand VIMS’s capability to perform general oceanographic research in the Chesapeake Bay and the mid-Atlantic near coastal waters. The state-of-the-art research vessel offers enormous capability in a small package that is also economic to build and operate. Read the rest here 13:28

Sustaining Sea Scallops

SUSTAINING SEA SCALLOPS is a 35-minute documentary on the history and resurgence of the Atlantic sea scallop fishery, seen through the eyes of fishermen and researchers. In 1999, facing fisheries closures and bankruptcy, the scallop industry began funding a unique research program to minimize impacts on the marine environment. Fifteen years later, the Atlantic sea scallop is hailed as one of the most sustainable and lucrative fisheries in the world. From New Bedford, Massachusetts to Seaford, Virginia, fishermen and researchers tell a rare tale of renewal, offering cooperative research as a new model for sustaining healthy fisheries and fishing communities. A Connecticut fishermen describes tough times when trawl fishing went bust, and what changed once scallops started to rebound. Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, and Virginia Institute of Marine Science explain how gear innovations and better surveys ensure scallop future harvests while reducing needless harm to other species and habitat. At the heart of it all, a former NOAA Fisheries captain-turned-farmer works to increase fishermen’s access to these technologies through his non-profit research organization, the Coonamessett Farm Foundation. Watch the video here 09:52

Smithsonian expert urges caution, patience on blue crab recovery

blue_crabThe results are in, 2016 is going to be a good year for blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay. An iconic figure embedded in the culture and cuisine of the Chesapeake Bay area, the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) sustains the most profitable fishery in Maryland and supports thousands of fishermen and seafood businesses in Maryland and Virginia. Based on the annual winter survey conducted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, there are nearly 35 percent more blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay this season than there were in 2015. That’s good news, especially on the heels of a 38 percent increase the previous year. But scientists say there is a cautionary tale in this rapid rise. (but, of course!) Read the rest here  16:29

Removal of derelict fishing gear has major economic impact

Waterman EC Hogge with a derelict crab pot retrieved from the York River.A new study by researchers at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science shows that removal of derelict fishing gear could generate millions of dollars in extra harvest value for commercial fisheries worldwide. The study focused on a 6-year, collaborative program to remove derelict crab pots from Chesapeake Bay, showing that the effort generated more than $20 million in harvest value for area watermen. Extending their methodology to estimate the economic benefits of removing derelict crab pots and lobster traps on a global basis,,, Read the article here 08:49

VIMs Study shows Blue crabs more tolerant of low oxygen than previously thought

blue-crabs-hopedalejpg-dc4bd1b64022cab0Results of a new study led by researchers at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science show that adult blue crabs are much more tolerant of low-oxygen, “hypoxic” conditions than previously thought. Lead author Rich Brill, a fishery biologist with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and adjunct faculty at VIMS, says “The notion that blue crabs are relatively intolerant of oxygen-poor waters was counterintuitive, because this species often occupies estuarine environments that can become hypoxic even in the absence of human activities.” Read the rest here 12:13

HabCamV4 sees large numbers of young scallops off Delaware Bay

habcamv4sees“We’re seeing many swimming scallops and other behaviors that are providing insights into how the animals live and interact in that environment,” Hart said. “Baby scallops are seen attached to adults, and other scallops are swimming above the bottom, perhaps to diffuse to areas that are less dense and provide more room to grow.” The NEFSC’s annual sea scallop survey is conducted in three segments or “legs,” each ranging from 11 to 14 days, between May and July, beginning with the Mid-Atlantic Bight, then Southern New England and ending on Georges Bank. Read the rest here 15:10

Fishermen get an education on all the most desired schools

Last week, 25 commercial and for-hire recreational fishermen, along with industry participants, went to school to learn about fish populations — how they grow, what impacts them and how we can keep them at maximum sustainable yield levels. The session focused on science issues as they relate to fisheries. Read the rest here 07:54

More Menhaden-Scientists have found new data that may prove there’s more of the fish than once thought.

Atlantic Menhaden, the tiny fish that, two years ago, created big trouble between Chesapeake Bay environmentalists and commercial fishermen, is surfacing once more. In 2012, data indicated the fish were in trouble so regulators cut commercial harvests and fishermen lost jobs. But the data used was flawed.   Read the rest here 23:08

VIMS begins 75th anniversary celebration

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science begins a yearlong celebration of its 75th anniversary this month, with the launch of a special multimedia website and the first of its monthly series of anniversary-themed public lectures for 2015. Read the rest here 10:46

UNE researcher gets $1.7M grant to aid fishing industry – will research the mortality rate of winter skates

A federal agency has awarded a University of New England researcher and his colleagues $1.7 million for a research project they hope will help increase revenues for the fishing industry. “If our proposed study is as successful as our previous otter trawl project, it could result in increased revenues to the commercial fishing industry,” Read more here 16:05

McAuliffe signs storm-water legislation at VIMS

GLOUCESTER Va— Gov. Terry McAuliffe proved he’s a hands-on governor Thursday when he capped a ceremonial signing of state legislation regulating storm water on the campus of Virginia Institute of Marine Science with a tour on a trawling boat that had him handling live fish and blue crab. Read more here 09:18

VIMS scientists star in new children’s book

childrens-book-vims-2-20140323-001Taking head counts of fish isn’t glamorous work, but it’s made literary stars of sorts out of a team of researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. A new non-fiction children’s book called “Counting the Fish in the Sea” depicts the ongoing efforts of Jim Gartland, multispecies survey leader at VIMS, and his colleagues to gather wide samples of fish species in order to gauge the overall health of the ocean. The book is written for children ages 8 to 12. Read more here dailypress.com 22:04

VIMS professor links sea star die-off to blue crab, lobster diseases – Rising sea temperature, contaminants to blame

As dramatic videos of the West Coast sea star die-off make the rounds on social media, a Virginia Institute of Marine Science professor has been quietly studying similar catastrophes closer to home. (Jeffrey) Shields sees parallels between the “Sea Star Wasting Syndrome,” as the mysterious attack has come to be known, and his own research into similar infections in crabs and lobsters. Read more here virginiagazette 16:21

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science is researching the American eel in order to better understand what affects its numbers and to better manage the fishery.

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. [email protected]

VIMS study: Dead zones bad for bay-bottom fishes, too

Now researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, or VIMS, have completed an exhaustive 10-year study that they say provides the first quantitative evidence of the impacts on demersal fishes baywide. [email protected]

New Virginia Institute of Marine Science study shows ‘dead zone’ impacts Chesapeake Bay fishes

The study, published in the May issue of Marine Ecology Progress Series, was authored by Andre Buchheister, a Ph.D. student in William & Mary’s School of Marine Science at VIMS, along with VIMS colleagues Chris Bonzek, Jim Gartland, and Dr. Rob Latour.  Low-oxygen conditions—what scientists call “hypoxia”—form when excessive loads of nitrogen from fertilizers, sewage, and other sources feed algal blooms in coastal waters. [email protected]

Letter to the Editor: VIMS, VMRC caving to commercial interests – Dr. John B. Lapetina Sr., Port Haywood, Va.

Editor, Gazette-Journal: It is with great anguish that I write this letter. It is a letter that I feel in my heart I must write. The Chesapeake Bay is a great national treasure. It was named Chesapeake by the Indians, and it meant “Waters of Many Fish and Shellfish.” My generation and the next generation have just about over-harvested the bay until it is on the edge of its demise. continued

VIDEO: F S F Georges Bank Yellowtail Flounder and Incidental Catch Avoidance Forum (lots of information)

WASHINGTON (Saving Seafood) Nov. 14, 2012 – Yesterday, the Fisheries Survival Fund, an industry group that includes the majority of full-time, limited-access scallop permit holders,  hosted a forum, “Georges Bank Yellowtail Flounder and Incidental Catch Avoidance,” immediately following the New England Fisheries Management Council meeting in Newport, Rhode Island. Speakers at the event included Dr. Steve Cadrin and Cate O’Keefe of the School of Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dr. David Rudders of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Ron Smolowitz of Coonamessett Farms. http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=b5nrgsdab&v=001aYDP54lNfT8w5naOyp7HRIgB4VG_lM4fDpTYpg49faLY5slnOWx7hp5-MTnG5BD5KPWh852FbmnbhXTHgUt6n45ny7Eyz5sx1B2fXOjmK-cdZ3Nh3VTYuw%3D%3D