Sturgeon Warning System

New tool allows UD researchers to inform local fishers, resource managers on avoiding the endangered species


by Adam Thomas, University of Delaware
May 6, 2021

University of Delaware postdoctoral researcher Matthew Breece has dedicated much of his time since 2009 to the study of Atlantic sturgeon in the Delaware River Estuary and off the coast of Delaware — tagging them and using telemetry to gather data on where the fish were going in the bay, as well as the habitats they were using as they migrated with the changing seasons.

This work allowed Breece and Matthew Oliver, Patricia and Charles Robertson Professor of Marine Science and Policy in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, to develop a text alert system to help fishers avoid Atlantic sturgeon, which are accidentally caught when commercial fishers search for other species. These texts tell fishers in what areas of the Delaware Bay and at what water depths Atlantic sturgeon are most likely to be found, allowing them to avoid the vulnerable species when targeting other fish.

Now, Breece and a team of collaborators from UD, Delaware State University (DSU), Delaware Sea Grant and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), have developed a forecasting tool for local fishers and natural resources managers that will inform them not only where Atlantic sturgeon are currently located in the Delaware Bay but also provide them with a three-day forecast highlighting where they will be in the future.

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