Culturing Mummichogs for the Baitfish Industry

Background

The mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus) is an abundant species in salt marshes and tidal creeks along the east coast of the United States and is used primarily as bait in the recreational summer flounder fishery. Sometimes it is difficult to collect them from the wild and shortages of this critical baitfish occur regularly during the fishing season.

Throughout, the Mid-Atlantic, bait and tackle shops are the primary source of mummichogs for the summer flounder fishery. In 2009, 24 million summer flounder were caught in the recreational fishery with New Jersey anglers catching the most fish.

Objectives

Develop low-cost techniques and materials for commercial culture mummichogs

Methods

  • Develop the culture of 2 different physiological strains of mummichogs, both endemic to New Jersey waters
    • Strain at 10 ppt
    • Strain at 0 ppt
  • Manipulate temperature and photoperiod to reliably spawn mummichogs in months don't naturally spawn
  • Grow-out to adult stage
  • Education and Outreach

This project will engage New Jersey bait/tackle shops as well as harvesters of wild mummichogs in development of a low cost technology to culture these fish at local scales. Conduct hands-on workshop for user community. Prepare and distribute fact sheets.


Aquaculture Innovation Center