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Using a System Level Approach to Bay Scallop Enhancement and Management
Chintala, M., D. Grunden, A. Kuhn, AND K. Tammi. Using a System Level Approach to Bay Scallop Enhancement and Management. Presented at National Shellfisheries Association Meeting, Jacksonville, FL, March 30 - April 03, 2014.
Bay scallops have been an important fishery for the New England area for the last century. Within the last twenty years, bay scallop harvests have decreased due to a number of factors, including decreased habitat quality and quantity, increased nutrient loading, and human induced stresses from the watershed. Traditional management/restoration efforts have been narrowly focused and of limited success. Research conducted in conjunction with the Town of Oak Bluffs have shown that greater success can be gained by considering system-level processes. This type of information can help guide governance institutions to make the best choices for the economic and social benefits of their community.
Within the last twenty years total harvests of bay scallops (Argopecten irradians) have dwindled in the southern New England Region. Management of scallop populations has been underway on Martha’s Vineyard Island to provide the public with a fishery, and have included a combination of direct seeding, spat bags and spawner sanctuaries to maintain and enhance populations. The success of these efforts depends on a number of factors, including habitat quality and quantity, larval supply, adult scallop location, water quality and watershed influences. Results from dive surveys in Lagoon Pond, MA indicated a correlation between scallop abundance and total vegetated cover (macroalgae and eelgrass combined), depth, and sediment type. Eelgrass alone, however, was a poor predictor of scallop abundance. More scallops were found in shallow areas (1-5 m depth) along the pond edge, with deeper, unvegetated, muddy sites devoid of scallops. Scallop abundance tended to be higher near sites of active restoration (spawning cages put in areas of past recruitment success), but this may reflect the hydrodynamic patterns of the system. Watershed analyses included characterization of the riparian zone and hydrography surrounding Lagoon Pond to evaluate the relationship between riparian buffer condition and scallop habitat suitability. These results illustrate the need to consider larger scale and longer term processes when planning restoration efforts for bay scallops. By linking habitat attributes with system-level driving forces, such as hydrodynamics and land use, we may improve the chances for success of future restoration and management efforts.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY
ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION
HABITATS EFFECT BRANCH