"This research demonstrates Atlantic sturgeon from the New York Bight move widely through the near-shore Atlantic Ocean and thus, likely mix with groups of other Atlantic sturgeon along the East Coast of the United States, making the conservation and management of Distinct Population Segments as separate and distinct groups very difficult, if not impossible," said Daniel L. Erickson, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and primary author of the study, who was a researcher for the Institute and the Wildlife Conservation Study while the study was being conducted. "The results also suggest that PSAT technology can be an effective means for studying Atlantic sturgeon and possibly other sturgeon species, and is particularly helpful for uncovering oceanic behavior and for defining critical habitat."
This method of study was first applied to sturgeon by Erickson and Dr. Pikitch to understand the migratory behavior of green sturgeon on the West Coast. Results of that study have since been used by NOAA's Fisheries Service to help delineate critical marine habitat for these sturgeon, which were recently listed as threatened.
The research revealed three major sturgeon aggregation areas of these Atlantic sturgeon, including aggregations off the southwest shore of Long Island, the New Jersey shore, and off shore of Delaware Bay. A small concentration was also found within Long Island Sound. While most of the tags popped off within the mid-Atlantic Bight, two of the tagged sturgeons traveled much further afield, with one traveling north to Cobequid Bay off Nova Scotia and the other traveling south to the coast of Georgia.
"Atlantic sturgeon were almost rendered extinct in the late 1800s due to over-fishing, and recent protections enacted to save these fish have prevented further declines," said Dr. Pikitch. "If we want Atlantic sturgeon to make a full recovery, we need to understand an
|Contact: Cindy Yeast|
Stony Brook University