The Virginia Institute of Marine Science's Virginia Shark Monitoring and Assessment Program (VASMAP) is designed to provide detailed analyses of relative abundance, habitat use, age, growth, reproduction, food-web dynamics, and demographics of dominant shark species in Chesapeake Bay and coastal Virginia. It comprises 3 inter-related components:
- The VIMS Longline Survey has used standardized, fishery-independent longline surveys to monitor the abundance of adult sharks in Virginia's coastal Atlantic waters since 1973.
- VIMS researchers monitor the abundance of juvenile sharks in Chesapeake Bay and the seaside lagoons of Virginia's Eastern Shore as part of the multi-institutional COASTSPAN survey.
- Fisheries scientists at VIMS tag and release a subsample of captured sharks and monitor the rate and location of recapture
All of VIMS' shark survey programs run once a month from June to August. The longline survey runs an extra cruise in September.
VASMAP research results are directly used in stock assessments of Atlantic shark species by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), as well as in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Shark Management Plan. Results are also used by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) in promulgating shark fishery regulations for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Read more about the importance of VASMAP data in shark fisheries managment.