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Atlantic Sturgeon Research in Delaware Bay Continues

April 25, 2014

On April 8, 2014, the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife (Division) again deployed acoustic receivers in the Delaware Bay to track migration patterns of Atlantic sturgeon. For a third 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".

Sturgeon Research Receiver

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 in 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 2013, the receivers recorded 31,401 detections from 233 different fish. Over 61 percent of the fish detected were Atlantic sturgeon, while 22 percent were sand tiger sharks. Other species detected included an American shad, a sandbar shark, a spiny dogfish, and a black drum tagged in March, 2011, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The majority of Atlantic sturgeon were detected in May and had been tagged by Delaware State University.

For exact receiver coordinates or more information about the project please contact Heather Corbett, Principal Biologist, at heather.corbett@dep.state.nj.us or 609-748-2020.

Reports of sturgeon sightings and interactions are also important to this research; please see www.njfishandwildlife.com/news/2013/sturgeon_reporting.htm for information on submitting a report.

For more information about sturgeon in the Delaware River, see the article, Delaware River Sturgeon (pdf, 145kb) from the 2005 Marine Digest. For more information about Atlantic sturgeon, see Atlantic Sturgeon - Endangered Species (pdf, 385kb) from the 2013 Marine Digest.

Receiver Location Chart

Receiver buoys
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Last Updated: April 25, 2014