Protecting a threatened coastal fish species through regional collaboration.
In: Shifting Shorelines: Adapting to the Future,The 22nd International Conference of The Coastal Society
, June 13-16, 2010
, Wilmington, North Carolina.
Rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) are small anadromous fish that live in nearshore coastal waters during much of
the year and migrate to tidal rivers to spawn during the spring. They are a key prey species in marine food webs, as
they are consumed by larger organisms such as striped bass, bluefish, and seabirds. In addition, smelt are valued
culturally and economically, as they support important recreational and commercial fisheries.
The Atlantic Coast range of rainbow smelt has been contracting in recent decades. Historically, populations
extended from the Delaware River to eastern Labrador and the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Buckley 1989). More recent
observations indicate that rainbow smelt spawning populations have been extirpated south of Long Island Sound,
and evidence of spawning activity is extremely limited between Long Island and Cape Cod, MA. In the Gulf of
Maine region, spawning runs are still observed, but monitoring surveys as well as commercial and recreational
catches indicate that these populations have also declined (e.g., Chase and Childs 2001). Many diverse factors could
drive the recently noted declines in rainbow smelt populations, including spawning habitat conditions, fish health, marine environmental conditions, and fishing pressure. Few studies have assessed any of these potential threats or their joint implications.
In 2004, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed rainbow smelt as a species of concern. Subsequently,
the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts were awarded a grant through NMFS’s Proactive
Conservation Program to gather new information on the status of rainbow smelt, identify factors that affect
spawning populations, and develop a multi-state conservation program. This paper provides an overview of this collaborative project, highlighting key biological monitoring and threats assessment research that is being conducted throughout the Gulf of Maine. (PDF contains 4 pages)
Conference or Workshop Item
||Protecting a threatened coastal fish species through regional collaboration
||National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. EPA Coastal Management Branch, U.S. Geolgocial Survey, NOAA Sea Grant
||Shifting Shorelines: Adapting to the Future,The 22nd International Conference of The Coastal Society
||Wilmington, North Carolina
||June 13-16, 2010
||The Coastal Society
||29 Jul 2010 13:24
||29 Sep 2011 16:42
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