The Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Virginia (CBNERR-VA) has received several accounts from local fisherman witnessing citation Speckled Trout deaths in the Pamunkey River. These deaths are likely in response to sustained cold temperatures we have experienced in the York River region over the past several weeks.
CBNERR-VA's Environmental Data Center utilizes realtime, high frequency water quality monitoring to support the Cold Stun Alert System to identify periods where water temperature conditions at multiple sites in Virginia and South Carolina are indicative of stress or mortality for Speckled (also Spotted) Sea Trout (Cynoscion nebulosus). The screenshot below was recently retrieved from the Cold Stun Alert System and shows sustained periods where water temperatures monitored at CBNERR-VA's Taskinas Creek monitoring station located in a tributary of the York River, fell below both the brief (~1 day) and extended duration (~8 days) temperature thresholds for the Trout. To protect the fishery and ensure that we have trout to catch in the coming year, the Cold Stun Alert system helps resource managers make vital data-informed decisions, such as reduced catch quotas, emergency season closures, and recommendations for voluntary catch and release among recreational fishermen.