The VIMS Ichthyology Collection is the regional repository for estuarine and marine fishes of Chesapeake Bay and the middle Atlantic Bight, and continues to expand its holdings of these fishes. In addition, the Collection continues to add to our holdings of deep-sea, freshwater, and exotic fishes, as well as early life-history stages of marine fishes. In addition, the VIMS collection serves as the Commonwealth of Virginia's Ichthyology Collection, acting as a repository for state agencies and universities.
Our policy regarding type material is in keeping with that outlined by Collette and Lachner (1976)*. All primary types will be deposited at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.
*Collette, B.B. and E.A. Lachner. 1976. Fish Collections in the United States and Canada, Copeia 1976(3):625-642.
The VIMS Ichthyology Collection is undergoing a new phase of growth, and we continue to acquire material collected during several research projects. We benefit from public awareness of this collection and will continue to accept unusual specimens from commercial and recreational fishing interests as well as the general public. We maintain close association with regional universities and are open to exchange of material that is well represented in the VIMS Ichthyology Collection for exotic taxa at other ichthyological museums. VIMS will not accept illegally collected or illegally acquired material, and documentation (including copies of permits) of specimens is kept in the collections records.
A number of on-going investigations, long-term monitoring efforts, and planned projects provide excellent opportunities for continuing acquisition of material. These include:
VIMS Lower Bay Finfish Monitoring (supported by Commonwealth of Virginia)
These monthly spring and summer surveys of lower Chesapeake Bay monitor juvenile fish recruitment to important commercial fisheries interests of the Commonwealth.
VIMS Anadromous Fish Survey (supported by NOAA, NMFS)
Annual spring monitoring of juvenile clupeiform fishes by bow-mounted pushnet is conducted weekly during spring and early summer periods of recruitment.
VIMS Seine Survey (supported by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Wallop Breaux Fund)
Weekly seine collections in oligohaline portions of the James, York, and Rappahannock rivers monitor recruitment of striped bass.
VIMS Shark Survey (supported Virginia Marine Resources Commission)
Regular spring, summer, and fall sets of baited longlines monitor historical trends in the abundance and define distributions of sharks from Cape Henlopen, Delaware to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
Spawning Assessment Survey (supported by Commonwealth of Virginia and various agencies)
Regular ichthyoplankton cruises designed to estimate stock size and monitor spawning activity of striped bass, sciaenids, and anchovies are conducted during spring, summer, and fall in lower Chesapeake Bay and contiguous waters. These surveys yield abundant egg, larval, and juvenile material.
Area Monitoring and Assessment Program Nearshore Trawl Program (NEAMAP)
(supported by MAFMC Research Set Aside)
Bay Multispecies Monitoring and Assessment Program (ChesMMAP) (supported by U. S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, Virginia Marine Resources Commission)
These two survey programs are designed to monitor the stocks of adult fishes in the Chesapeake Bay (ChesMMAP) and the Middle Atlantic Bight (NEAMAP). These programs offer the opportunity to regularly grow holdings of common fishes of these two regions, as well as document rare or unusual occurrences.
Deep-sea Demersal Fish Study
Periodic trawl expeditions to define historical trends in community structure of demersal, bathyal fishes from 200 to 3,000m off the middle Atlantic Bight.
Annual collecting trip of VIMS graduate ichthyology class to southwestern Virginia to sample freshwater fishes of the southern Appalachians.