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Atlantic Sturgeon Research in Delaware Bay Continues in 2017

On March 21, 2017, the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife (Division) deployed acoustic receivers in the Delaware Bay to track migration patterns of Atlantic sturgeon. For a sixth year, 19 receivers have been set in water depths generally less than 20 feet. Those fishing in inshore waters may encounter white buoys marked “NJDEP Research”.

As part of a multi-state collaborative effort, the Division has partnered with several states to develop a multi-year effort directed at providing state, federal, and regional management authorities with information necessary to successfully conserve and ultimately restore the population of sturgeon in the mid-Atlantic region.

With the endangered species listing of Atlantic sturgeon effective April 6, 2012, research on this species has gained in significance and importance. The Division’s portion of the project is to purchase, assemble, deploy and maintain 19 receivers in the Delaware Bay. Data is downloaded monthly from each receiver to detect movement of Atlantic sturgeon tagged with acoustic telemetry tags.

The receivers complement the existing receiver array within Delaware Bay, specifically on the NJ side, to ensure complete coverage of the sampling area. The additional coverage allows for greater detection of Atlantic sturgeon and provides the ability to monitor immigration and emigration from the Delaware Bay.

In 2016, the receivers recorded 66,694 detections from 313 different fish. Over 65 percent of the fish detected were Atlantic sturgeon, while 15 percent were sand tiger sharks and 11 percent were striped bass. Other species detected included black drum, blacktip shark, bull shark, cownose ray, loggerhead sea turtle, and horseshoe crabs. The majority of Atlantic sturgeon were detected in May and were tagged by Delaware State University.

Please contact Heather Corbett 609-748-2020 for exact receiver coordinates or for more information about the project.