Young-of-the-Year American Eel Monitoring on the U.S. Atlantic Coast

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 9:40 AM
206B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Bradford C. Chase , Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, New Bedford, MA
The American eel Fishery Management Plan of the U.S. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) requires that all Atlantic coast States conduct annual abundance surveys of newly recruited glass eels also called young-of-year (YOY). The YOY life stage provides an opportunity to assess the annual recruitment of each year’s cohort since YOY result from the previous winter’s spawning activity and represent eels of the same age. The individual States follow ASMFC protocols for monitoring site selection, gear deployment and data collection to provide fishery independent indices of YOY eel abundance over a wide geographic region.

Thirteen U.S. States have maintained YOY surveys beginning in 2000 or 2001. Thirty-one YOY surveys on the Atlantic coast were evaluated for the ASMFC American Eel Benchmark Stock Assessment in 2012 and sixteen were accepted as annual indices of abundance. Standardized General Linear Models (GLM) were developed from regional and coast-wide combinations of the accepted indices. A summary of the ASMFC YOY monitoring effort, GLM analyses, and abundance trends will be presented.  Sampling effort and water temperature were included as covariates in the coast-wide GML. In addition, analyses will be presented from individual sites related to environmental influences on YOY migrations and abundance.