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Joseph E. Hightower

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In 2012, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared Atlantic Sturgeon Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus to be threatened or endangered throughout its range in U.S. waters. Restoration of the subspecies will require much new information, particularly on the location and timing of spawning. We used a combination of acoustic telemetry and sampling with anchored artificial substrates (spawning pads) to detect fall (September–November) spawning in the Roanoke River in North Carolina. This population is included in the Carolina Distinct Population Segment, which was classified by NOAA as endangered. Sampling was done immediately below the first shoals encountered by anadromous fishes, near Weldon....
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Striped bass Morone saxatilis in inland reservoirs play an important role ecologically and in supporting recreational fishing. To manage these populations, biologists need information about abundance and mortality. Abundance estimates can be used to assess the effectiveness of stocking programs that maintain most reservoir striped bass populations. Mortality estimates can indicate the relative impact of fishing versus natural mortality and the need for harvest regulation. The purpose of this chapter is to evaluate tagging studies as a way of obtaining information about abundance and mortality. These approaches can be grouped into three broad categories: tag recapture, tag return, and telemetry. Tag-recapture methods...
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Multibeam imaging sonars have considerable potential for use in fisheries surveys because the video-like images are easy to interpret, and they contain information about fish size, shape, and swimming behavior, as well as characteristics of occupied habitats. We examined images obtained using a dual-frequency identification sonar (DIDSON) multibeam sonar for Atlantic sturgeon Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus, striped bass Morone saxatilis, white perch M. americana, and channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus of known size (20–141 cm) to determine the reliability of length estimates. For ranges up to 11 m, percent measurement error (sonar estimate – total length)/total length × 100 varied by species but was not related...
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American shad Alosa sapidissima are in decline in their native range, and modeling possible management scenarios could help guide their restoration. We developed a density-dependent, deterministic, stage-based matrix model to predict the population-level results of transporting American shad to suitable spawning habitat upstream of dams on the Roanoke River, North Carolina and Virginia. We used data on sonic-tagged adult American shad and oxytetracycline-marked American shad fry both above and below dams on the Roanoke River with information from other systems to estimate a starting population size and vital rates. We modeled the adult female population over 30 years under plausible scenarios of adult transport,...
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We examined spawning site selection and habitat use by American shad Alosa sapidissima in the Pee Dee River, North Carolina and South Carolina, to inform future management in this flow-regulated river. American shad eggs were collected in plankton tows, and the origin (spawning site) of each egg was estimated; relocations of radio-tagged adults on spawning grounds illustrated habitat use and movement in relation to changes in water discharge rates. Most spawning was estimated to occur in the Piedmont physiographic region within a 25-river-kilometer (rkm) section just below the lowermost dam in the system; however, some spawning also occurred downstream in the Coastal Plain. The Piedmont region has a higher gradient...
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