Tagging and Genetics Reveal the Origin of Atlantic Sturgeon Acipenser Oxyrinchus in MINAS Basin, NOVA Scotia: Potential Effects of LOCAL Impacts on a MIXED Stock Aggregation

Wednesday, August 20, 2014: 11:10 AM
204A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
M.J.W. Stokesbury , Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Canada
Jeffrey Beardsall , Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Canada
Montana McLean , Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Canada
Mike J. Dadswell , Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Canada
A mixed-stock feeding aggregation of ~ 10,000 sub-adult and adult Atlantic sturgeon inhabits Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, during summer.  This aggregation has recently been the focus of an intensive electronic and conventional tagging program as part of the Ocean Tracking Network.  Genetic analysis performed by Wirgin et al. (2012), corroborated by conventional tag returns and acoustic tag recovery, indicated that this aggregation is formed of fish from threatened and endangered stocks in Canada and the USA including the St. Lawrence, Saint John, Kennebec and Hudson Rivers.  Threats to Atlantic sturgeon in Minas Basin are examined including bycatch in otter trawl and brush weir fisheries, competition for shared resources such as the blood worm harvest, and the potential threat of deploying in-stream tidal turbines in Minas Passage, the only entrance to Minas Basin from the outer Bay of Fundy. Measured and possible impacts of these anthropogenic activities on Atlantic sturgeon will be reported in the context of exposing threatened and endangered stocks to a level of threat that may or may not be appropriate for their conservation status.