Evaluating recruitment of American eel, Anguilla rostrata, in the Potomac River (Spring 2021)

Abstract

American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) is a valuable commercial species along the Atlantic coast of North America from New Brunswick to Florida. Landings from Chesapeake Bay typically represent 60% of the annual United States commercial harvest (ASMFC 2012). American Eel is also important to the recreational fishery as it is often used live as bait for Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) and Cobia (Rachycentron canadum). In 2020, Chesapeake Bay commercial landings of American Eel (218,005 lbs) were 80% of the U.S. landings (personal communication from the National Marine Fisheries Service, Fisheries Statistics Division). Since the 1980s, harvest along the U.S. Atlantic Coast has declined, with similar patterns occurring in the Canadian Maritime Provinces (Meister and Flagg 1997). The American Eel Benchmark Stock Assessment report (ASMFC 2012) established that the American Eel is depleted in U.S. waters; the 2017 stock assessment update (ASMFC 2017) confirmed that this population remains depleted

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