Secure Fisheries’ Paige Roberts was an author on a recent paper titled “Assessment of River Herring Spawning Runs in a Chesapeake Bay Coastal Plain Stream using Imaging Sonar,” published in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. The paper includes her prior work for the Fish and Invertebrate Ecology Lab at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
River herring are a historically important but highly overexploited fishery in the northeastern United States. Using sonar imaging and electrofishing, the research team visually counted the numbers of Blueback Herring and Alewives running up the Choptank River, Maryland, during the 2014 spawning season and conducted demographic analyses using otolith ageing techniques. By comparing the results to a similar study in 1972-1973, the team determined that the Alewife population has increased since the 1970s, while the Blueback Herring population is equivalent. This assessment provides a fishery-independent population assessment, creating an important baseline to compare future assessments to and to provide guidance for restoring and sustainably managing the fishery.