Management of Our Marine Fisheries is at a Critical Juncture
Right in our backyard, peering out on Long Island Sound, the futures of bright young enterprising individuals are being nurtured for potentially launching careers in underwater ecology, marine and environmental sciences. Brought to light at the Consulting and Advisory Committee of The Sound School, attended by members spanning careers in research, science, education, aquaculture, related business, etc., cradle to grave projects created by teams of enterprising students were skillfully presented, detailed, and responded to with questions.
This regional aquaculture, science and technology education center for students in grades 9-12 offers a wide range of disciplines, several of which were melded and highlighted in these specially prepared presentations. Anna Nikkei, who is headed northwest to the University of British Columbia (underwater ecology), teamed up with Brendan Conners, who is looking forward to traveling south to the University of Alabama (environmental sciences), to enlighten the group on the result of four years of ecological succession on a restored habitat in urban harbor, utilizing lab cultured oyster and reef balls.
They have shown that, although their project took place in a relatively shallow, closed-in habitat adjacent to New Haven harbor, inviting congregation of localized marine species and predation by fish and crabs. Oyster spat survived and ultimately matured into a future food source.
Marcus Duff and Lucianna Cirello took on the project and presentation of “Reestablishing Microalgae Cultures,” which demanded considerable thought and physical effort. The existing outdated aquaculture lab was in need of a complete overall from top to bottom. Assisted by Alysa Mullen and John Roy, the team attacked the complete dismantling and rebuilding of this 500-foot space, encompassing all systems (hood, floor drains, temperature control, tables, pipping, shelving, cabinets, electrical/lighting, etc.) needed to grow microalgae cultures.
Additionally, impacts of Covid affected the timeline by contributing to delays in needed materials and supplies that had to be overcome. Ultimately, the product, inclusive of flask cultures, carbonyl and k-wells capable of producing multiple species, is scheduled to be in play by May 2023, and full culture production by September 2023.
The third and final presentation, “Environmental Justice Program Updates” by Chuck Mulligan, Ruby Blustajn and Gabby Spata, delves into ongoing environmental initiatives and programs. These updates take a close look at student research training and related platforms taught at The Sound School, both in the classroom and in the field, that easily translate into real world applications.
For example, in the field, sample gathering, manual and electronic techniques, and person-to-person interactions are demonstrated. Symposiums that include comparisons of rainfall and dissolved oxygen in bottom waters, as well as comparisons of ammonia and rainfall, are topics presented. In order to translate intricacies of the environment and how habitats interact in Long Island Sound, in-person outreach programs and workshops are demonstrated to the public.
As reported, a high point is the Envirothon, where schools/students chosen to attend get to compete and test their knowledge on various environmental skills. Understanding global systems and how to protect them, the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) has put high school students through a rigorous tournament, testing their ocean science knowledge to which Sound School competing students are proud.
The future of our marine fisheries and their habitats often begins with students sparked by advanced technologies and dedicated curricula from specialized educational programs such as the Sound School. Many of these students will move on to state, federal and private industry to assist in the management of fish stocks and their habitats, and/or become instrumental in future advancements tied to related applications. Hats off to their mentors and those students who undertake and pursue today’s challenges.
On The Water
A Mid-Atlantic low pressure tracked off the coast and out to sea. High pressure then built from the west, raising air temperatures to the high 40’s followed by a disturbance of mixed precipitation and lower temps, followed by another high-pressure system and warmer temps. A pair of complex, slow-moving low-pressure systems merged, generating mixed winter weather events and some coastal flooding. As Long Island Sound water temperatures held to around 41 degrees, fluctuating weather systems brought compromised visibility variable to gusty winds and seas, at times, from 1 to 5 feet from the passing nor’easter.
Throughout the struggle between a weak winter and a persistent unseasonable weather pattern, inland waters continued to be stocked with a broad range of trout including broodstock Atlantic salmon. New waters have been added to the list of regular stockings, including trout management areas and the management lakes which are open through the second Saturday of April to a limit of one trout daily. Remember, from March 1st until 6:00 a.m. on the second Saturday of April, it is catch and release only.
Also, on the tidal waters and tributaries, the daily limit is two trout at a 15” minimum length. Water levels and flows have fluctuated from clear, light and low to high, fast and challenging. During periods of weather system breaks, lakes and ponds offered multi-species fishing adding to the existing trout, largemouth bass and panfish activity.
Fly fishing: outstanding opportunity for the experienced or beginner. Booking inland and marine fly fishing lessons for 2023 with World Fisher, certified Master Fly Fishing Casting Instructor and Fishing Lodge Director. From trout, salmon, steelhead, and sea-run browns to striped bass, bonefish, permit, and tarpon, etc., techniques learned and honed will improve your fishing.
Note: Email us pics of your catches to share with our USA and International fishing friends who keep up with the latest fishing news and frequent social media.
For all things fishy including the latest gear, ice fishing, flies/fly fishing, rods/reels, clam/crabbing supplies, fishing trips, licenses/permits and much more, swing by the shop (203-245-8665) open seven days located at 21 Boston Post Road, Madison. Until next time from your Connecticut shoreline’s full-service fishing outfitter and Authorized Penn Premium Dealer, where we don’t make the fisherman, we make the fisherman better.