Ecosystem Targets and Supporting Indicators
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Game fish are those species prized by anglers for their size and strength which makes fishing for them an exciting sport. All of these fish are also harvested commercially and are managed by regulations restricting minimum harvest size, number, and season in order to keep their abundance stable. In addition, state health departments monitor many of these species for contamination by toxic substances such as mercury and issue consumption advisories when needed.
The Long Island Sound Trawl Survey (LISTS), conducted by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection since 1984, has provided independent monitoring of important recreational species in Long Island Sound. Seven of these species are identified in this chart—bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix), scup (Stenotomus chrysops), striped bass (Roccus saxatillis); summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus), or fluke, tautog, (Tautogo onitis), or blackfish, weakfish (Cynoscion regalis), and winter flounder (Pseudopleuronetes americanus). These abundance indices are used by fishery managers for local and regional assessment of stock condition, and to provide a more complete annual inventory of LIS fishery resources.
The abundance of game fish is a reflection of the productivity of Long Island Sound and the effectiveness of coast-wide fishery management plans that seek to stabilize populations while maximizing harvest opportunities.
In general, Long Island Sound abundance of boreal game fish (e.g., winter flounder) is stable or declining while the abundance of temperate finfish species (e.g., weakfish & summer flounder) is increasing. The aggregate average is roughly stable, but highly variable: