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  1. Cameron Fletcher, Student Technican
  2. Annapolis
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Posted on July 15, 2011 | Permalink

Student Technican Experience - Week 3

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From the Patapsco to the Potomac, the fish are looking good! This week I surveyed both areas and was, yet again, pleasantly surprised at the diversity and quantity of fish we caught. On Tuesday and Wednesday I went electrofishing again in the Patapsco. This electrofishing however, was on a whole different level compared to my previous electrofishing experience. Rather than catching fish with a crew of five scientists with up to two shockers in the stream, this time we had a crew of 17 scientists with up to 8 shockers! Consequently, due to our large numbers, we caught even more fish! Some new species I saw were cutlip, redbreast, and margined madtom.

Following the electrofishing, I did some more seining on the Potomac. Similar to my experience seining in Nanjamoy, we caught a variety of species; however, the main species we were hoping for was striped bass. Striped bass, or rockfish, are the most popular fish to catch in the bay and thus their population size needs to be monitored. By seining for young of the year striped bass, scientists can predict how the population size will be in 3-4 years when they reach market size, and letís just say that in 3-4 years fisherman will be very pleased with the amount of striped bass that are going to be in and around the bay. We didnít have a single seining where we didnít catch any striped bass, and in a site that had almost no striped bass last year had 50 this year! We were all happy to see that these fish were coming back.

My experience seining this week, even though it called for a 4:45 am departure time, was probably my favorite field work I have done so far. This was mainly because in addition to being in and around the water, studying fascinating fish, I also felt that I was an appreciated member of the crew carrying out this study. The actual scientists let me try every aspect of the study, and took the time to actually teach me about what we were catching and how to identify different species. I learned more than I ever have in the field simply because the scientists didnít keep to themselves, but actively engaged with me during the study. I even had a pop quiz to identify shad versus herring! I hope in the coming weeks that I will meet similar scientists so that I can have a clear understanding of all aspects of a fisheries career.

Tags: Striped Bass, Cutlip, Redbreasted Sunfish, Madtom