New Bedford, MA, United States
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DeGrasse S.,U.S. Food and Drug Administration | Conrad S.,U.S. Food and Drug Administration | DiStefano P.,U.S. Food and Drug Administration | Vanegas C.,U.S. Food and Drug Administration | And 10 more authors.
Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography | Year: 2014

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is the foodborne intoxication associated with the consumption of seafood contaminated with naturally occurring neurotoxins known as paralytic shellfish toxins. To protect public health from this potentially fatal syndrome, harvesting closures are implemented when toxins exceed the regulatory action level. Traditional monitoring programs established by state shellfish authorities allow for timely closures in state waters with minimal negative impacts on industry. However, such monitoring programs are not feasible in federal offshore waters given their distance from shore and the range of their spatial coverage. Thus innovative management strategies were investigated for these offshore resources. Georges Bank, an offshore resource with an estimated market value of more than $3 billion in Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs, has been closed to harvesting following a temporary ban in 1989 and a subsequent indefinite closure in 1990 due to the risk of PSP. As a means of managing this risk and allowing harvest of safe shellfish from this important resource, the Onboard Screening Dockside Testing Protocol (referred to as the Protocol) was developed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), state shellfish control authorities, and industry. The Protocol, which sets forth control measures to ensure product safety and public health protection, was endorsed by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) for pilot testing. Briefly, the pilot study Protocol required that (1) the fishing vessel receive a permit from NMFS to harvest in closed waters, (2) a minimum of five shellfish samples per intended harvest lot be tested for PSP toxins onboard, and (3) harvesting only occur when the samples tested from the intended fishing area are negative using the Jellett Rapid Tests or Abraxis Shipboard ELISA kits. Finally, product landed under the Protocol was confirmed to be safe for consumption using the mouse bioassay (MBA) prior to its introduction into commerce. This paper presents data from the pilot study, with primary focus on the advantages and challenges of the field kits employed onboard compared to the dockside MBA, which has served as the longstanding regulatory method for PSP toxins. In 2010 alone, the successful pilot study resulted in the safe harvest of over $2.7 million worth of surfclams in an area that has otherwise been unavailable for decades. Due to the success of this pilot study, the Protocol was adopted into the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Model Ordinance as an approved marine biotoxin control strategy for use in federal waters at the 2011 ISSC Biennial Meeting. In January 2013 a portion of Georges Bank was reopened for the harvest of Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs to fishermen following the Protocol. © 2014.


Goni N.,Tecnalia | Logan J.,213 Purchase Street | Arrizabalaga H.,Tecnalia | Jarry M.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Lutcavage M.,University of Massachusetts Amherst
Marine Biology | Year: 2011

This study aims to describe the variability of albacore (Thunnus alalunga) diet in the Northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea and to identify possible relationships between this variability and the features of different feeding areas, the behavior, and the energetic needs of albacore. Stomach contents from albacore caught in five zones of the Bay of Biscay and surrounding waters (n = 654) and three zones of the Mediterranean Sea (n = 152) were analyzed in terms of diet composition and stomach fullness. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope and C/N ratios were measured for white muscle and liver from albacore in the Bay of Biscay (n = 41) and Mediterranean Sea (n = 60). Our results showed a spatial, seasonal, inter-annual, and size-related variability in the diet of albacore. Albacore diet varied by location in the Mediterranean Sea, with a particularly high proportion of cephalopods, and low δ15N values in the Tyrrhenian Sea. In the Northeast Atlantic, albacore consumed a higher proportion of crustaceans and a lower proportion of fishes in the most offshore sampling zone than inshore. The digestion states of the major prey reflected a diurnal feeding activity, indicative of feeding in deeper waters offshore, whereas on the continental slope, feeding probably occurred in surface waters at night. Important seasonal and inter-annual diet variability was observed in the southeast of the Bay of Biscay, where preferred albacore prey appeared to be anchovy (Engraulis encrasicolus). Stomach fullness was inversely related to body size, probably reflecting higher energetic needs for smaller individuals. Albacore from the Bay of Biscay had significantly lower δ13C and higher δ15N values compared with albacore from the Mediterranean Sea, indicative of regional baseline shifts, and trophic position and muscle lipid stores in albacore increased with body size. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


Logan J.M.,213 Purchase Street | Logan J.M.,University of New Hampshire | Golet W.J.,University of New Hampshire | Golet W.J.,University of Maine, United States | And 3 more authors.
Environmental Biology of Fishes | Year: 2015

Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) are the primary forage for Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus; ABFT) in the Gulf of Maine. Recent studies have documented significant declines in ABFT somatic condition and shifts in their size and spatial distribution in the Gulf of Maine, which may be linked to trophic changes. We collected stomachs (n = 122) as well as liver (n = 110) and white muscle (n = 382) samples for carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis and lipid analysis to determine if diet composition had changed relative to the late 1980’s to early 2000’s for large, commercially harvested ABFT (≥185 cm curved fork length (CFL)). Samples of smaller ABFT (<185 cm CFL) were also collected (stomachs: n = 21; liver: n = 17; white muscle: n = 19) to compare diet between size classes. Large ABFT diet was similar among current and historic studies, Atlantic herring being the main prey (39.5 to 52.8 % weight). Small ABFT fed at a lower trophic position (TP = 3.9) than larger individuals (TP = 4.9) due to higher consumption of sand lance (Ammodytes spp.) and euphausiids (65.6 vs. 4.5 % weight). Mean and maximum lipid stores of large ABFT increased from spring through fall, but lean fish were observed in all seasons. In the fall, lean ABFT were lighter with lower nitrogen and higher carbon isotope values than co-occurring ABFT with higher lipid stores. These patterns are consistent with shelf vs. offshore isotope baseline differences in the western North Atlantic and variable arrival and residency patterns for ABFT in the Gulf of Maine. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


James-Pirri M.-J.,University of Rhode Island | Veillette P.A.,University of Rhode Island | Leschen A.S.,213 Purchase Street | Leschen A.S.,Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology | Year: 2012

Hemolymph from adult female American horseshoe crabs (Limulus polyphemus) was analyzed from wild caught and three treatments from a biomedical bleeding experiment: captive control, captive bled, and handled according to Best Management Practices (BMP). A total of 10 constituents were measured: blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, glucose, lactate, protein, and ionic concentrations of calcium, chloride, magnesium, potassium, and sodium. Protein concentration was positively correlated with size (prosomal width), while sodium and potassium were negatively correlated with size. Only protein concentration differed among groups, with the captive bled BMP group having significantly lower protein values than either captive control or wild crabs. Wild crabs had higher creatinine, glucose, and potassium values compared to all captive groups. Chloride, calcium, magnesium, and sodium concentrations were lower for wild crabs compared to the captive groups. Lower protein values in the captive bled BMP group suggest that prolonged biomedical bleeding may impact crab physiology. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Natanson L.J.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Skomal G.B.,213 Purchase Street
Marine and Freshwater Research | Year: 2015

Age and growth estimates for the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) in the western North Atlantic Ocean (WNA) were derived from band pair counts on the vertebral centra of 81 specimens collected between 1963 and 2010. We used two previously published criteria to interpret band pairs and assessed the validity of each method using Δ14C levels from a recent bomb radiocarbon validation study and existing Δ14C reference chronologies in the WNA. Although both criteria produced age estimates consistent, to varying degrees, with different reference chronologies, only one was considered valid when life history information was used to select the appropriate reference chronology and minimum/maximum ages based on bomb carbon values were taken into consideration. These age estimates, validated up to 44 years, were used to develop a growth curve for the species, which was best described using the Schnute general model (sexes combined). These results indicate that white sharks grow more slowly and live longer than previously thought. © CSIRO 2015.


McBride R.S.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Wuenschel M.J.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Nitschke P.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Thornton G.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | King J.R.,213 Purchase Street
Journal of Sea Research | Year: 2013

Female winter flounder were examined using gonad histology to determine the adequacy of routine macroscopic maturity classification methods and to determine the spatial variation in size and age of maturity in U.S. waters. Sampling occurred in spring and autumn, which was adequate to collect immature, mature, spawning-active, and non-active females. Females were collected in coastal waters from Delaware Bay, USA, to the Scotian Shelf, Canada, including in Long Island Sound and on Georges Bank, which covered all U.S. stock areas. Mature fish spawned in spring, when gonads comprised up to 30% of the total body weight. Direct comparisons of maturity assignment by macroscopic versus microscopic methods demonstrated that both schemes are compatible, but the more cost-effective macroscopic method had trouble distinguishing larger immature from smaller resting females. Spatial comparisons, using gonad histology only, supported the existence of three stocks in U.S. waters, but also revealed significant variation in age at maturity within the two coastal stocks. Age-at-maturity was more variable than size-at-maturity, which is consistent with known stock-specific patterns of growth rates and a postulated life history tradeoff to delay maturity until a size threshold is reached. The within-stock variation in median age at maturity, about one year for coastal stocks, recommends further investigation of using static, stock-specific maturity ogives to calculate reference points for management. © 2012.


Bayse S.M.,University of Massachusetts Dartmouth | He P.,University of Massachusetts Dartmouth | Pol M.V.,213 Purchase Street | Chosid D.M.,213 Purchase Street
Fisheries Research | Year: 2014

Underwater video recording of the behavior of longfin inshore squid (Doryteuthis pealeii) in response to a Nordmøre-style finfish bycatch reduction grid installed in the extension of a trawl was made during experimental fishing in Nantucket Sound off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. Swimming and jetting behavior, time in trawl extension, position, and orientation of squid were quantified in relation to capture by, or escape from, the trawl. Squid actively avoided the grid and escaped by jetting and changing directions. Few squid became stuck on the grid (6.4%), the majority of which eventually passed between the grid spacings and entered the codend (83.9%). Squid that passed through the grid spent less time before the grid, and were less likely to jet or change directions (p< 0.05). Squid that approached the grid from the top of the extension, and with mantle oriented toward the grid, were more likely to be caught (p< 0.05). The potential for taking advantage of these behaviors in response to a grid is discussed in relation to improving techniques for separating squid from finfish bycatch in the squid trawl fishery. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.


Waples D.M.,Duke University | Thorne L.H.,Duke University | Thorne L.H.,University of Southampton | Hodge L.E.W.,Duke University | And 3 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2013

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) interact frequently with gillnet fisheries throughout their range. These interactions, which include the depredation of captured fish, can have deleterious impacts on both dolphins and fishermen. Acoustic deterrent devices have been proposed as one means of reducing the frequency and severity of these interactions. We studied interactions between bottlenose dolphins and a gillnet fishery for Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus maculatus) in North Carolina, USA and investigated the effect of SaveWave® acoustic deterrent devices on target fish catch and the frequency and nature of interactions with bottlenose dolphins. We made observations from commercial vessels and conducted focal visual and acoustic follows of dolphins from a research vessel. We examined the effects of SaveWave® devices on fish catches and dolphin behavior by comparing sets with functioning (active) devices and non-functioning (control) devices. In 2003, we collected baseline data on catch and dolphin behavior from 136 gillnet sets; during 2004 and 2005 we monitored 151 gillnet sets (83 with active devices, 68 with control devices). Fish catches were significantly lower when dolphins were observed interacting with gillnets. SaveWave® status (active versus control) did not affect fish catch, but dolphins were less likely to interact with and more likely to echolocate around gillnets equipped with active SaveWaves® than gillnets with control SaveWaves®. Despite these encouraging findings, SaveWave® devices were not sufficiently durable to be deployed effectively in this fishery. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Pol M.V.,213 Purchase Street | Szymanski M.J.,213 Purchase Street | Chosid D.M.,213 Purchase Street | Salerno D.,Gulf of Maine Research Institute
North American Journal of Fisheries Management | Year: 2011

Fork length-total length conversions for haddock Melanogram-mus aeglefinus from Georges Bank and pollock Pollachius virens from the Gulf of Maine were developed by linear regression with data from fish caught during gear comparison studies. These conversions were developed to replace previous conversions that were inaccurate or insufficiently documented. Total lengths (TLs) and fork lengths (FLs) were obtained from 216 haddock ranging from 35 to 73 cm TL (median = 57 cm) and 220 pollock ranging from 43 to 107 cm TL (median = 75 cm). The conversion equation for haddock was FL = 0.95 × TL + 0.65. For pollock, it was FL = 0.94 × TL - 0.62. Reciprocal equations were also determined. © American Fisheries Society 2011.

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