Dispersal and Active Retention of Larval Smelt in Estuaries in St. Mary's Bay, Newfoundland
The collapse of the northern cod and concerns about other key commercial species of fish provides further evidence of the increasing need to manage and conserve living marine resources in Canada. A lack of knowledge as to whether fish species should be managed as single units or as substructures within sub populations has been identified as a key impediment to achieving proper management. A better understanding of how particular stages of the fish life cycle use specific habitat locations must be achieved to accomplish such a goal. Equally important is the ability to understand how best to manage and protect areas and sub populations that contribute most to successful recruitment of fish. Connectivity, the linkage among sub populations, plays a critical role in achieving these goals as some sub populations may prove to be more important than others for providing recruits. This study focuses specifically on smelt as evidence suggests that larval behaviour may limit dispersal and contribute to population structuring. Smelt can frequently be found in most estuaries and rivers along the coast of Newfoundland. Although previously fished commercially, smelt is a species now fished primarily for sporting purposes. Examining the spatial distribution of smelt larvae in the Salmonier estuary as it relates to tidal forces, light conditions, and prey availability will aid in understanding population structure within the bay. Such data may be used as a model for smelt in coastal Newfoundland and will also assist with the management and conservation of this and other fish species.
01 Jan 2006
Fishing, hunting and trapping
Strategic Research Theme
Oceans, Fisheries and Aquaculture