Striped bass has been an important fishery along the Atlantic coast since the early days of American settlers, when the fish also was used for fertilizer. By 1639, however, regulations barred its use for this practice, making it one of the first natural resources in the United States to be regulated.
The popularity of striped bass with both commercial and recreational fishermen pushed the fishery to the verge of collapse in 1983. The fishery has since rebounded and recent figures indicate catches are at a record high.
On Thursday, May 20, at 7:00 p.m., at the University of Delaware’s College of Marine Studies in Lewes, Tim Targett, professor of marine biology–biochemistry, will use the recovery of the striped bass fishery to illustrate the importance of regulating fisheries in a presentation titled, “The Status of Marine Fisheries: Worldwide and Regional Perspectives.” Targett’s lecture is part of the Ocean Currents Lecture Series, which is held monthly at the Lewes campus from April through September.
Marine fisheries are important to people throughout the world. Fish is a major source of protein, especially to people in less developed coastal countries. In addition, fisheries contribute to the economic well being of a country — providing jobs for members of the community as well as a natural resource that can be sold.
According to Targett, many fisheries worldwide are in danger of being fully exploited or overfished. Traditionally, fisheries have been managed by either limiting the number of fish that can be caught or by imposing a size restriction. The striped bass is an encouraging and dramatic example of a local fishery that has recovered through regulatory efforts.
Targett notes, however, that regulatory methods are not enough to protect fisheries and says that “fisheries won’t recover if their habitats have been destroyed.”
As a result, management officials have stressed the importance of identifying, protecting, and restoring essential fish habitats in their efforts to rebuild marine fisheries. Essential fish habitats include estuarine waters that fish use to spawn, breed, feed, or grow to maturity.
Targett also will discuss his research concerning the effects of low levels of oxygen on the growth, survival, and distribution of several fish species in the Mid-Atlantic such as summer flounder and weakfish. Low levels of dissolved oxygen, also called hypoxia, typically occur during the summer in shallow coastal waters that are used by these fish as nursery grounds.
A member of the College of Marine Studies’ faculty since 1986, Targett earned his doctorate in zoology in 1979 from the University of Maine. He also has a master’s degree in marine biology from the University of Miami in Florida and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Maine.
From 1987, Targett has served as a commissioner on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission as the governor’s appointee representing Delaware. The commission coordinates the conservation and management of near shore fishery resources among the 15 Atlantic coastal states. In addition, since 1997, he has been the campus network representative of the American Fisheries Society, the world’s oldest and largest organization dedicated to the advancement of the fisheries and aquatic resources profession.
The lecture will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Room 104, Cannon Laboratory, at the Hugh R. Sharp Campus, 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes. The hour-long talk will be followed by light refreshments.
While the lecture is free and open to the public, seating is limited and reservations are required. To reserve your seat, please contact the college at (302) 645-4279.