Residency and Overwintering of Striped Bass Morone Saxatilis in the Mira River Estuary, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Thursday, August 21, 2014: 9:00 AM
2101 (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Colin Buhariwalla , Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Canada
John MacMillan , Inland Fisheries, Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
Isaac Wirgin , Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, Tuxedo, NY
Michael Stokesbury , Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Canada
Michael J. Dadswell , Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Canada
Research on Striped Bass in Atlantic Canada has been focused on known spawning stocks in the Bay of Fundy, St. Lawrence River, and southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. However, Striped Bass also occur in the inland and coastal waters of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and the origins, population characteristics, and movements of this group are largely unknown.  We studied an aggregation of Striped Bass in the Mira River estuary, Cape Breton to determine movements and identify aggregation sites within the system. Striped bass (n = 29) were acoustically tagged from July 2012 to November 2013 and tracked through the system with a passive acoustic hydrophone array. Annual estuarine fidelity was observed using two-year tags from 2012 (n = 6) and despite access to the marine environment all but one Striped Bass were resident in the Mira system. A summer foraging aggregation was identified mid estuary and occurred annually. Overwintering was observed in 2012-2013 and an overwintering aggregation was located during winter of 2014. This is the first report of annual residency and overwintering of Striped Bass in Cape Breton and, combined with recent genetic analyses, may signify the discovery of an additional Atlantic Canadian stock.