Release assessments begin the day of the release with beam and otter trawl surveys in and around the release site. Most fish are caught and released immediately, though a small sample is kept for analysis. We continue to trawl daily for a week to monitor the movements of the cultured fish. We also take core samples of the sediment to see what prey are available for the released fish.
Movements, growth, and survival of released fish are monitored for months after a release. Some fish are sacrificed for gut content analyses to determine how quickly they adapt to foraging.
Data from our acoustic tracking study has shown that cultured fish spend a day or two moving out of the immediate release site and then settle down. Currently we are studying how winter flounder move with changes in the tide and depth gradient, and when they leave the estuary.