Department of Marine Science Safety and Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Buzzards Bay, USA
*Corresponding author:William A Hubbard, Department of Marine Science Safety and Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Buzzards Bay, USA
Submission: July 02, 2020; Published: July 10, 2020
ISSN : 2578-031XVolume3 Issue4
The black sea bass Centropristis striata population of the Northwest Atlantic has been expanding over the past decade throughout its northern extent in Massachusetts waters. As abundance has increased in the coastal waters of Massachusetts, valuable commercial and recreational fisheries have developed. Relatively little is known about the habitat requirements for black sea bass at different life stages in Massachusetts waters. Identification and conservation of critical habitats is an essential component of sustainable fisheries management. In this study we conducted underwater video transects in Buzzards Bay, MA to better understand the habitats used by young-of-the-year black sea bass. We specifically focused on a comparison between Crepidula fornicata shell reefs and sandy/sponge habitats. Our results suggest that juvenile, young-of-the-year black sea bass are present in statistically significant higher densities on the Crepidula fornicata shell reefs than in the sandy bottom habitat. This sampling identified an average of eight times more fish on the shell reef habitat, implicating the shell reefs as a potential nursery habitat in Massachusetts waters. Crepidula reefs should be considered for designation as Special, Sensitive or Unique resource in the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan.
Keywords:Massachusetts; Black sea; Coastal water; Finfish species; Cape cod