Utilizing Acoustic Telemetry to Develop Spatial and Temporal Protection of the Endangered Atlantic Sturgeon
In order to best manage human activities in a way that populations of Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus) may recover fully, it is necessary to understand the association between sub-adult Atlantic sturgeon and their ocean/estuarine habitat. With the recent listing under the ESA, the identification of key movements and habitat use is essential for the declaration of critical habitats. In 2010-2011 we acoustically tagged a total of 288 sub-adult Atlantic sturgeon (mean FL 107cm) captured in aggregation areas off NY. Movements of telemetered individuals were monitored by large acoustic arrays and gates located in the mid-Atlantic. Through the use of our arrays and cooperative partners in the ACT Network, results indicate repeated yearly spatial/temporal movements and habitat use. This information suggests that the development of spatial/temporal management plans could be implemented to best limit sturgeon interactions with a wide range of activities such as commercial fishing, dredging, beach nourishment, and underwater construction (pipelines, bridges, wind farms). This research highlights the use of cooperative networks and acoustic telemetry as a tool for providing data to support management decisions and conservation of migratory species.