March 31, 2022, Dolphinfish Research Program— Last November marked the third field expedition for the Dolphinfish Research Program to Tropic Star Lodge to determine the horizontal and vertical movements of dolphinfish in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP). This field expedition and research is funded by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.
During the most recent expedition, a total of 12 satellite tags were deployed, and the program received data from 9 so far with 2 more scheduled to report in May. Since 2018, researchers have deployed 20 satellite tags on dolphinfish ranging in size from 36″ to 56″ fork-length. When combined with TSL’s conventional tagging participation, which has amounted in the tag and release of 572 dolphinfish, of which 20 have been recaptured, a preliminary dataset is taking shape that shows both fine scale and broad movements, habitat use, and fishery dynamics in this part of ETP. Detailed updates on the progress of the research and program expansion in the ETP are available here. A special thanks goes out to the entire TSL staff as well as the captains and mates for their help in making this effort possible!
U.S. Atlantic Coast Dolphinfish Management Updates
Recently, the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council reviewed options for the development of a new federal regulatory amendment (Regulatory Amendment 2) as their previous full amendment (Amendment 10) is proceeding through the Secretary of Commerce approval phase. Toward the end of the development of Amendment 10, a significant number of public comments (including from BOSF/DRP) were received that favored stronger conservation measures than were being included. However, after 4-5 years spent developing the amendment, the committee and council elected to bring the process to a close while at the same time recognizing the possible need to implement stronger changes. As a result, the process of formulating the regulatory amendment has begun. Development is projected to take place through the remainder of this year and into early 2023.
The actions currently included in the new amendment are:
- Extend the 20” minimum size limit north of South Carolina
- Lower the daily recreational bag and vessel limits below the current 10 per person bag/54 (assuming final approval of Amendment 10) vessel limit
- Modify retention limits by captain and crew onboard charter vessels
Prior to the SAFMC meeting and in response to the lack of stronger measures in Amendment 10, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission proactively approved implementation of the regulations below for dolphin in Florida Atlantic waters (FAW) effective May 1 2022:
- Reduce recreational bag limit from 10 to 5 per person for FAW
- Reduce the private recreational vessel limit from 60 to 30 fish per day for FAW
- Clarify that for-hire captain and crew are prohibited statewide from retaining a bag limit
Click here to learn more and to stay engaged and informed about management updates regarding dolphinfish along the U.S. East Coast.
U.S. Caribbean Sea FAD Research Resumes
Over the past year, four submerged FADs were deployed off of Fajardo, San Juan, and Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Along with these deployments, the FAD fishery research was reinitiated to build and expand upon our original research objectives that our group focused on during the earlier years of the PR FAD system, which are to better describe fish movements relative to the FADs, fishing trip success and catch and effort, how FAD design can affect species abundance and biomass, and the impact that FADs have on local businesses and visitors to Puerto Rico. To learn more about this research, visit our website prfadsystem.org or watch the video by clicking this link.