SCeMFiS-funded graduate student Taylor Daley, as well as her major professor, Dr. Robert Leaf, had the opportunity to travel to Lund’s Fisheries Inc. and meet with Jeff Kaelin and Wayne Reichle. Fish from Lund’s harvest were obtained for the study. Weight and length measurements from 863 Atlantic Chub Mackerel (Scomber Colias) were taken on-site and data will be used to describe weight-at-length characteristics. Otoliths were collected from approximately 400 fish from a wide distribution of size classes, which will be used to determine the length-at-age relationship. Gonads for histological analysis were also collected.
Dr. Leaf and Daley also met with Meghan Lapp, Fisheries Liaison for Seafreeze, to tour Seafreeze facilities and arrange the logistics of sample delivery. A total of 524 fish from Seafreeze’s harvest were sampled for the project. Seafreeze also provided historical catch reports for Atlantic Chub Mackerel, which will allow the examination of the historical length frequency composition of the harvest.
In September 2016 Daley traveled to the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole (NEFSC), MA to collaborate with NOAA age and growth expert Dr. Eric Robillard. Dr. Robillard agreed to partner on the project and provide technical support. Daley and Dr. Robillard derived an effective method of processing and analyzing otoliths. A total of 356 otoliths were selected from a representative range of size classes for each month sampled. These include 16 obtained from the Northeast Groundfish Survey. In March 2017 Daley made another trip to the NEFSC to collaborate with NOAA scientists and analyzed all 356 otoliths. This data is currently being analyzed to determine the length-at-age relationship.
Daley is also involved in an international otolith exchange. She has made connections with international (Spanish, Portuguese, and Canary Islands) experts in Atlantic Chub Mackerel age and growth. It is intended that the information sharing performed on the webinar will greatly assist in reaching the objectives of the project as well as giving SCeMFiS a global reach. Dr. Leaf has funded Taylor Daley to complete training in histology from Nancy-Brown Peterson to describe reproductive characteristics. Daley has processed the first 100 histology samples and is beginning analysis.