35-6 Characterization of a growing fishery: Black drum in Delaware Bay

Wednesday, September 15, 2010: 10:20 AM
318 (Convention Center)
Dewayne A. Fox, PhD , Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Delaware State University, Dover, DE
Jordan M. Zimmerman , Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife, Dover, DE
The decline of traditional spring fisheries in Delaware has lead to the rapid development of a targeted black drum fishery.   Delaware currently has no black drum regulations and concern over increased effort has led to calls for a standardized management approach with New Jersey.  Sagittal otoliths and morphometric data were collected from both recreational and commercial fisheries to assess age and growth of harvested black drum in the Delaware Bay.  Gonadal weight and reproductive stage were assessed to gain insights on spawning and fecundity.  Average age, weight, and length of black drum sampled during 2008 and 2009 for the recreational fishery were 33 years, 19.4 kg, and 102.1 cm respectively, and 13 years, 14.0 kg, and 92.9 cm in the commercial fishery.  Estimated ages of harvested black drum ranged from six to 57 years with a mean age of 29.  Gonadal somatic indices ranged from one to 20% (mean = 3.0%, n=50) during the fishery.  A vonBertalanffy growth function was fitted to age data (n=204) to produce estimates of L inf(118.2cm), k(0.12), and t0(-1.43 years).  Both recreational and commercial fisheries target spawning aggregations in the Delaware Bay with recreational anglers landing larger, older fish.
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