Evaluating Recruitment of American Eel, Anguilla rostrata, in the Potomac River (Spring 2012)


The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) adopted the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for the American eel in November 1999. The FMP focuses on increasing coastal states’ efforts to collect American eel data through both fishery-dependent and fishery-independent studies. Consequently, member jurisdictions agreed to implement an annual survey for young-of-year (YOY) American eels. The survey is intended to “…characterize trends in annual recruitment of the YOY eels over time [to produce a] qualitative appraisal of the annual recruitment of American eel to the U.S. Atlantic Coast” (ASMFC 2000). The development of these surveys began in 2000 with full implementation by 2001. Survey results should provide necessary data on 4 coastal recruitment success and further understanding of American eel population dynamics. A recent American eel stock assessment report (ASMFC 2009) emphasized the importance of the coast-wide survey for providing data useful in calculating an index of recruitment over the historical coastal range and for serving as an early warning of potential range contraction of the species. Funding for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s spring survey in the Potomac River was provided by the Potomac River Fisheries Commission, thereby ensuring compliance with the 1999 ASMFC Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Eels

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