Determining an optimal release site for juvenile winter flounder Pseudopleuronectes americanus (Walbaum) in the Great Bay Estuary, NH, USA
One of the main elements in developing an optimal release strategy for an enhancement effort is to evaluate and select release sites that will support growth and survival of newly released, cultured fish. Three potential release sites (New Castle (NC), Broad Cove (BC) and Oyster River (OR)) in the Great Bay Estuary, NH, USA were evaluated for pilot‐scale releases of winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus Walbaum). Cultured juvenile flounder were placed in cages at each of the three sites. Sites were evaluated based on growth and survival of the fish in relation to water temperature, prey availability and sediment composition. Fish grew faster in the two upper estuarine sites BC (0.54 mm day−1) and OR (0.56 mm day−1) than at the site at the mouth of the estuary (NC=0.37 mm day−1). Fish survival (44–53%) and water temperature (17.8–19.7°C) did not vary between sites. Benthic samples showed that prey was available to, and eaten by, the flounder. Sediment composition was the main difference between the three sites, with one site (NC) characterized by gravel whereas the other two sites were sandy. These results corroborate other studies showing the importance of sediment quality for the distribution of flatfish populations. From these results, we can confidently eliminate NC as a potential release area and recommend that sandy sites are better for stocking cultured juvenile winter flounder than gravely sites.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Fairchild, E.A., J. Fleck, and W.H. Howell. 2005. Determining an optimal release site for juvenile winter flounder Pseudopleuronectes americanus (Walbaum) in the Great Bay Estuary, NH, USA. Aquaculture Research 36:1374-1383.