Friday, April 1, 2011

Seine Flounder

A nice, healthy flounder caught on 3/26/11 while beach seining in the Lagoon at the Head of Pond site. First time we caught a flounder in the seine....!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Article in today's Foster's Daily Democrat, NH paper

UNH researchers working to restore winter flounder populations on Martha's Vineyard

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Photo by Andrew Jacobs Volunteers for the UNH Winter Flounder Enhancement Project pull a seine to capture and inventory fish in Menemsha Pond on Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

Click here to view Foster's prints for sale

DURHAM — Winter flounder populations off the coast of Massachusetts are getting a helping hand from University of New Hampshire researchers.

Winter flounder populations in southern New England waters — also called the Mid-Atlantic Bight — have been steadily declining since the early 2000s, primarily due to overfishing, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. UNH researchers have spent the last decade conducting research on establishing methods to effectively restore and enhance winter flounder populations. One community in the Mid-Atlantic Bight — Martha's Vineyard, Mass. — recently sought advice from UNH researchers, who have developed an enhancement project aimed at improving winter flounder stocks.

"Winter flounder stocks are in dire need of help," according to Elizabeth Fairchild, UNH associate professor of zoology and the project's principal investigator. "Cutting back on fishing alone will not restore these populations in a timely manner. All responsible management tools, including restocking, should be considered."

With funding from the National Sea Grant College Program and the Science Consortium for Ocean Replenishment, volunteers on Martha's Vineyard have literally plunged into the project. Following a recent training session at the UNH Judd Gregg Marine Research Complex in New Castle, volunteers began collecting data in the icy waters of Lagoon Pond and Menemsha Pond on Martha's Vineyard. Two times a month, they take core samples to determine food availability for flounder, monitor water quality and pull seine nets through the shallow waters to determine what species of fish and macroinvertebrates are present. The core samples are sent back to UNH where Fairchild's lab assistants analyze the results.

Project participants will continue collecting data through November in order to determine the most appropriate winter flounder stocking strategies. If these sites show promise as enhancement locations, researchers and volunteers will stock the ponds with as many as 50,000 hatchery-reared winter flounder and monitor their populations to determine the stocking effectiveness.

"This study is a demonstration project, and this community is a testing ground to show how to start and implement winter flounder restocking programs," Fairchild said. "If this project is successful, it will serve as a model applicable to other New England fishing communities seeking to recover winter flounder populations."

On Martha's Vineyard, interest in and support for this project comes from residents of the island, fishermen and bay scallopers as well as from members of the Wampanoag Reservation, says UNH Ph.D. student Shelley Edmundson, who works closely with the volunteers on the island. "The public has been extremely supportive and excited about the project, particularly long-time residents who remember decades ago when the flounder fishery was successful," she says. "It's great to see people working together across the island to try to help the winter flounder and bring back the fishery."

To find out more information about the project, please visit Fairchild's winter flounder enhancement blog at or contact her at

Photo by Curtis Chandler Volunteer Andrew Jacobs prepares to take a core sample of the sediment in Menemsha Pond on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., as part of the UNH Winter Flounder Enhancement Project.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Benthic Sample Processing

At the beginning of this week Kim, Kristin, and an array of undergraduate students finished processing the first round of November core samples from Martha's Vineyard. Taylor was the first site we tackled and come to find out appears to have some of the most diversity of all Vineyard sites, at least for November. It was a good crash course for us learning to ID a variety of polychaetes, bivalves, amphipods, and the occasional isopod. Throughout all of the Menemsha Pond sites we continued to see a diversity of species. Once we began the site at Lagoon pond it quickly became apparent that shells would be in the majority of specimen composition. For all of the sites in Lagoon we found a lot of different bivalves and gastropods. We even ended up using a North American shell guide to help with the identification. The two most common families of polychaetes were Nereidae and Spionidae. For bivalves we found a lot of Veneridae and Tellinidae specimens. As for the amphipods we had specimens from every family in our guide book as well as some we had not seen before. Gastropods from Lagoon Pond were primarily slipper shells and a species from the Cerithiidae family, Bittium alternatum. Here are some photos of some of the common and interesting things that we have found to this point:

Family Nereidae

Close up of the head of a Nereis

Family Tellenidae

Bittium alternatum

One of two bay scallops (Argopectin irradians) that we have seen so far

Astarte undata

Family Epitoniidae

Family Ischyroceridae

Family Phoxocephalidae

Mysid Shrimp (Praunus flexuosus) that we found a few of

All of us in the lab are looking forward to only 5 cores per site! We have a good start on Menemsha Pond sites for December already and can't wait to see what other kinds of interesting things we find!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Photos from Mike 11-16-2010


Taking a core sample
<---Core Samples

Sorting and looking for Winter Flounder

Temperature gauge attached to buoy