Annual and Monthly Variation in Species Composition and Catches of Fishes from the Tabusintac River Estuary in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence
Keywords:Atlantic Salmon, Salmo salar, anadromous fishes, migration, Tabusintac River Estuary, New Brunswick
AbstractA total of 7130 fish from 13 taxa were collected during summer and autumn, 2002-2005 using box traps at two sites in the Tabusintac River Estuary, New Brunswick, Canada. The objective was to determine seasonal change in species composition and catches, and to access change in annual returns of Atlantic Salmon, an important recreational fishery during autumn on the Tabusintac, Miramichi and neighboring rivers. Taxa richness and composition varied annually and from trap to trap. Richness ranged from 8-10 taxa annually and catches were usually highest in the trap closest to the ocean despite its slightly smaller size. Taxa contributing greater than one percent of the total catch during the four years of sampling included six diadromous taxa: Blueback Herring and Alewife (41.65%), Striped Bass (21.54%), Atlantic Salmon (3.98%), Tomcod (2.95%), Brook Trout (1.05%), American Eel (5.27%); one freshwater species, White Sucker (11.96%); one marine species, Winter Flounder and one resident estuarine species, Smooth Flounder which together account for 11.19% of the total catch. The remaining five species (American Smelt, Northern Pipefish, White Perch, Cunner, Sea Lamprey) contributed 0.39% of the total catch. The fish fauna 14-15 km up the Tabusintac River was not species rich, due in large part to the limited sampling time each year and due to fishing with just one sampling gear, a stationary box trap. Additional species would have been collected if smaller mesh sampling gear were used. Comparisons were made with other studies and the phenology of the dominant species on the Tabusintac and Miramichi River Estuaries during the ice free season is established. Most catches appear to be related to pre- or post-spawning movements of anadromous fishes.
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