Utilizing Acoustic Telemetry to Develop Spatial and Temporal Protection of the Endangered Atlantic Sturgeon

Thursday, August 21, 2014: 2:30 PM
2101 (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Keith Dunton , School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Michael Frisk , SOMAS, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY
Adrian Jordaan , University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
Kim A. McKown , New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, East. Setauket, NY

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.