Maine striped bass population studiedAP , Associated Press
Jun. 24, 2013 9:02 AM ET
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine anglers are being asked to take photos of the striped bass they catch this summer in the name of science.
Coastal Conservation Association-Maine and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute are collaborating on a project called "Snap-A-Striper" to collect data about the fish. Stripers are popular among recreational fishermen along Maine's coast.
The groups are asking the fishermen to take photos of the fish next to data cards that contain information on the angler's name, the date and catch location. The cards also serve as measurement tools to determine the fish length.
Participants are asked to email the photos to the research institute, where scientists will compile the information to gain a better understanding of the origin of striped bass in Maine and help improve fisheries management. Catches have dropped sharply in recent years without a clear understanding of why.
Scientists say they don't fully understand the relative contribution of stripers that spawn in Maine's Kennebec River watershed compared with fish that migrate from more southern spawning populations.
"We are excited to engage with recreational anglers on an important research project regarding the origin of striped bass caught in Maine's coastal waters," said Lisa Kerr, a fisheries ecologist at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.
Anglers who choose to keep, rather than release, their fish can further participate by removing the fish's head, freezing it in a plastic bag with the data card used in the photo, and delivering it to one of several freezer drop-off points throughout southern Maine where they will be collected for study.
Scientists say they can learn more about the fish from body shape data collected from the photos and information retrieved from ear bones that are collected from the fish heads that are submitted.