On April 9, 2013, the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife deployed acoustic receivers in the Delaware Bay to track migration patterns of Atlantic sturgeon. For a second year, 18 receivers have been set in water depths generally less than 20 feet. Those fishing inshore waters may encounter white buoys marked “NJDEP Research”.

As part of a multi-state collaborative effort, the Division has partnered with several states to develop a multi-year effort directed at providing state, federal, and regional management authorities with information necessary to successfully conserve and ultimately restore the population of sturgeon in the mid-Atlantic region.

With the endangered species listing of Atlantic sturgeon, effective April 6, 2012, research on this species has gained in significance and importance. The Division’s portion of the project is to purchase, assemble, deploy and maintain 18 receivers in the Delaware Bay. Data is downloaded monthly from each receiver to detect movement of Atlantic sturgeon tagged with acoustic telemetry tags.

The receivers complement an existing receiver array within Delaware Bay, specifically on the NJ side, to ensure complete coverage of the sampling area. The additional coverage allows for greater detection of Atlantic sturgeon and provides the ability to monitor immigration and emigration from the Delaware Bay.

In 2012, the receivers recorded 42,138 detections from 230 different fish. Nearly 60 percent of the fish detected were Atlantic sturgeon, while 21 percent were sand tiger sharks. Other species detected included three striped bass and one spiny dogfish. The majority of fish were tagged by Delaware State University.

For more information about sturgeon in the Delaware River, see www.njfishandwildlife.com/pdf/2005/digmar_sturgeon.pdf (pdf, 145kb) from the 2005 Marine Issue of the Fish and Wildlife Digest.

For exact receiver coordinates or more information about the project contact Heather Corbett 609-748-2020.

Receiver Location Chart (pdf, 90kb)

Image courtesy New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

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