Estimating Relative Abundance of Young of Year American Eel, Anguilla rostrata, in the Virginia Tributaries of Chesapeake Bay (Spring 2007)


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 (including Virginia) agreed to implement an annual survey for 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 coastal recruitment success and further understanding of American eel population dynamics. A recent American eel stock assessment report (ASMFC, 2006) emphasized the importance of the coast-wide survey as an index of sustained recruitment over the historical coastal range and an early warning of potential range 4 contraction of the species. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science continued its spring sampling to estimate relative abundance of young of year (YOY) American eels in Virginia tributaries of Chesapeake Bay. Funding was provided by the Marine Recreational Fishing Advisory and Commercial Fishing Advisory Boards, which ensured compliance with the 1999 ASMFC Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Eel

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