In 1999 the Rhode Island Coastal Ponds Project was expanded to support an adult winter flounder monitoring and tagging project. This winter phase of the seasonal coastal pond work serves as an opportunity to collect data on the adult spawning populations of winter flounder in Rhode Island south shore coastal ponds. A commercial fisherman who had historically fished for winter flounder in the coastal ponds agreed to assist the RI Marine Fisheries Staff and get the survey successfully operational.
Fyke nets are set at fixed station locations in Point Judith Pond, Potters Pond, and Ninigret Pond.
Fyke nets are a passive fixed fishing gear, attached perpendicular to the shoreline at mean low water. A vertical section of net wall or leader directs fish toward the body of the net where the catch is funneled through a series of parlors, eventually being retained in the terminal parlor. The winds of the net accomplish further direction of the catch.
Fyke nets are set at fixed locations, and catch is collected every three to seven days. The net is hauled by hand and accessed by a small vessel. All fish are sorted by species, measured, and counted. All winter flounder captured are measured, sexed, counted, and categorized to describe spawning stage. These data illustrate how the spawning activity of flounder advances throughout the duration of the survey season. Fish of legal size, 30.48cm or recruits to the fishery are tagged and released away from the capture area. Physical measurements, such as weather conditions, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and salinity are taken at each station.
The research project runs from approximately January to May annually. Fishing gear is deployed depending on ice cover in the ponds and the hear is generally hauled on three to seven night sets. There are a total of twelve stations sampled found in the Point Judith Pond system including Potters Pond, as well as Ninigret Pond.
For more information about the survey please contact Rich Balouskus
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