Marine stock enhancement is the practice of releasing hatchery-reared fish into coastal waters for the purpose of increasing wild populations. To explore its potential as a fisheries management tool in the Gulf of Maine, researchers from the University of New Hampshire co-founded the Science Consortium for Ocean Replenishment (SCORE) in 2001.
Funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, SCORE includes scientists from Florida’s Mote Marine Laboratory, the Manchester Marine Research Station of the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.
SCORE scientists are dedicated to the development of responsible, effective marine stock enhancement. The consortium’s strength comes from the diversity of expertise represented by its member scientists, the variety of species and habitats studied, the wide geographic base of research, and the cooperative sharing of ideas and data.
At UNH, we focus on winter flounder, an important commercial and recreational fishery that has declined severely in recent years. Our goal is to accelerate winter flounder’s recovery by increasing the spawning stock in estuaries and coastal waters. To meet this goal, we have developed a multidimensional research program focused on the following:
- Large-scale production of healthy juvenile winter flounder;
- Development of effective release strategies;
- The study of wild winter flounder to better understand their movements, habitat use, and behavior.