Field Methods

Virginia COASTSPAN Survey


The objectives of the COASTSPAN survey are to:

  1. Implement COASTSPAN sampling methods to continue to monitor the abundance of sharks, skates, and rays in coastal Virginia pupping and nursery areas, to provide vital biological data and environmental parameters for management of dominant species
  2. Continue juvenile sandbar shark tagging program to investigate degree of fidelity and philopatry to Virginia nursery sites, and to track long-term movements during migrations to and from wintering areas
  3. Examine management effects on sandbar shark juvenescence trends through the continued monitoring of  size, sex, and maturity composition in Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters of Virginia 
  • Random stratified sampling design based on depth and geographic location at 20 Chesapeake Bay stations and 15 Eastern Shore stations
  • Sampled during June, July, and August
  • Demersal longline sampling gear consists of 1,000 feet of 3.0 mm monofilament (700 lb test) mainline and 50 gangions with 12/0 Mustad circle hooks (barbs depressed). Gangions composed of 50 cm 1/16" stainless steel aircraft cable and 100 cm of 1.8 mm monofilament (300 lb test) attached with a longline snap (tune clip with 8/0 swivel).
  • Baited with Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus
  • Soak time of 30 minutes 
  • Hydrographic conditions: depth, temperature, salinity, and dissolved oxygen (bay stations)
  • Atmospheric data: wind speed & direction, air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, weather condition, and sea state. 

Circles indicate 15 randomly selected stations used during a past month's VIMS' COASTSPAN Bay and Eastern Shore surveys.