Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lagoon 12/13&14

We sampled Lagoon Pond this past monday and tuesday - in the wet and cold. Promises for the weather we will see this winter. Everything went smoothly and we worked well with each other. We caught an adult winter flounder (over 14 inches) in one of our beam trawls!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sites on the Vineyard

At left is a scenic view of Menemsha Pond taken from the Wampanoag Tribal Hatchery in Aquinnah (Gay Head) looking towards the mouth of the pond. Below is the West Arm site in Lagoon Pond with Danielle and Mike's boat in the background.

A Successful Start

This project is off to a successful and promising start! First we had the training workshop for project participants (Nov. 10-11) at the UNH Marine Facility which was led by my lab and hosted by NH Sea Grant. Groups from both MA and NY as well as representatives from the NOAA Aquaculture Program, Sea Grant, and the Coastal Conservation Association attended. The workshop was primarily geared towards those involved with this project on a daily basis. Mornings were spent discussing implementing responsible stock enhancement strategies and programs, the importance of knowing as much as possible about potential stocking sites, and how to culture fish destined for releases. Afternoons were dedicated to hands-on training in the field and in the hatchery. Project participants learned how to beach seine, fish a beam trawl, and operate a sediment corer. A tour was given of the UNH Coastal Marine Laboratory where winter flounder are produced each year and participants got to tag juvenile fish with both elastomer and t-bar tags.

The week following the workshop, Nate Rennels and I visited both groups on their home turf to help get the field work started. First working with the Martha's Vineyard crew, we selected 4 sites each in both Menemsha and Lagoon Ponds which will be surveyed for one year. We were very impressed by the eagerness, readiness, and communal spirit of the group. It seems when Warren Doty, the Vineyard project manager, gives the order for all hands on deck, EVERYONE responds. We have no doubts that this group will get things done!

Next Nate and I continued on to East Hampton, NY where we did a repeat. Four sites were selected in both Napeague Harbor and Lake Montauk, and sampling was started. We were pleased by the support from the Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson as well as the encouragement and help from the Town Trustees and assistance from harbormaster Ed Michels and his crew Jim and Dale.

Now the winter flounder stock enhancement project is in the hands of these two groups. As they sample and collect data, we at UNH will process and analyze the information which will be used to determine future stocking strategies.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pond Work

On Martha's Vineyard we have completed the first round of ecosytem samples from Lagoon Pond. Thanks to Danielle, David, and Mike for all the hard work. We have four stations and now we have 40 core samples already sent to UNH and we have data sheets on 12 beam trawl tows and nine beach seine hauls. We had big catches of silversides, bay scallops, starfish, and a few flounders. The beam trawls caught great quantities of bay scallops and the beach seines caught silversides. We did not have any big catches of flounder.
The end of our day today was cut short when the steering on our boat suddenly died. We were adrift at 4PM with the end of the day approaching. But David (our trusted captain)had this planned perfectly and the wind blew us to shore. And as every prepared captain has things planned perfectly, David had a truck right on this shore even though it was three miles away from our dock and our launching point. How did he do that?
So our November collection for Lagoon Pond is complete. We will complete our first collection for Menemsha next week.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fishermen finding flounders in our pond

Last week when we were out on the Lagoon Pond doing core samples, one of our friendly fishermen came by our boat and tossed a nice, mature 12 inch winter flounder on to our culling board. It came up in his bay scallop dredge.
Today I had a casual conversation in the bank with one of our Menemsha scallopers. He tows three scallop dredges and catches four bushels of bay scallops in three hours. The fishing is good and the price is up and he is happy, along with most of our mosquito fleet. So, I asked if he was seeing any flounder. He said "Tons. More than in recent years. These fish are making a comeback."
I asked a few more pointed questions. He said he saw 40 to 50 flounders per day on his culling board. The fish vary in size from 2 inches to 10 inches. They push them off the side of the culling board and expect all of them to live. They are only out of the water for five minutes or so.
So our early anecdotal reports indicate that the flounders are here. Now, let's see what our beam trawl will catch.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Winter Flounder Enhancement Project Begins!

Newcastle, NH - The winter flounder enhancement project began on November 10th at the UNH Coastal Marine Laboratory. The 25 participants gathered for a two-day workshop, during which Dr. Fairchild and her associates offered both instructional presentation and field training in support of the project. In particular, project partners were trained to apply t-bar and elastomer tags to juvenile winter flounder as well as to conduct field sampling
using a beam trawl and beach seine.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The purpose of this research project is to initiate a regional winter flounder restocking effort following the "responsible approach" guidelines in two locations (Martha's Vineyard, M.A. and East Hampton, N.Y.). This project is a regional collaborative effort that includes fishermen, scientists, the aquaculture industry, and fisheries managers who will engage in research to find ways to protect and enhance the winter flounder and its fishery.