Welcome to the 2017 MRG field season

The first survey of 2017 returned with a slightly higher catch diversity for typical March ChesMMAP cruises. The usual high numbers of Atlantic menhaden, blue crabs, and striped bass were reported; however, we also saw catches of Atlantic croaker, a species that has been in decline in our catches overall, and totally absent from recent March surveys. We even caught some winter skate and spiny dogfish that managed to make their way into the mouth of the Bay. Check out the link for the full catch map, plus water quality maps below:

Catch Map


Bottom Water Temperature


Bottom Dissolved Oxygen


Bottom Salinity


Vessel Crew:  J. Olney Jr. (Captain), K. Mayer (Mate)

Scientists:  D. Gregg (Chief), J. Eckert, R. Hailey, G. Mears, T. Moore, C. Ward

New Web Map Apps

New for 2017, our catch maps in web app format!



We will continue to provide cruise catch maps and water quality maps after each cruise, but now our catch data for selected species are summarized by cruise and by year.  The ChesMMAP data are pooled across all years and reported by cruise: March, May, July, September, and November as well as pooled across all cruises and reported by year, from 2002 to 2016.  The NEAMAP data are likewise reported by year, for both Spring and Fall from 2007 to 2016.  For the NEAMAP catch summaries by cruise, the apps incorporate a swipe tool to quickly compare Fall and Spring in the same map.


ChesMMAP web app summarizing yearly catch data



NEAMAP web app summarizing yearly catch data



NEAMAP catch web app with swipe tool comparing Spring and Fall


2016 Shark Monitoring

New to the VIMS Fisheries website:  Catch maps of the VIMS Longline Survey.


The VIMS Longline Survey is managed by the Multispecies Research Group.

2015 ChesMMAP Water Quality

Full bottom water quality results from 2015:

Dissolved Oxygen




Water Temperature



Fall 2015 NEAMAP Catch Results

Our final farewell to 2015 are the Fall NEAMAP cruise results. Click on the map below to view all of the species sampled and interact with the data. Stay tuned for a bottom water temperature synopsis coming soon to wrap up the 2015 field season.


End-of-Year ChesMMAP catch: November 2015 cruise

It seems 2015 went out with a bang for ChesMMAP catches.  The November cruise resulted in increases in typical catch for many species compared to recent previous years.  Among the winners were blue crabs, bluefish, northern puffer, weakfish, and summer flounder.  Striped bass catches were higher than usual as well, but a typical November cruise usually produces high striped bass catch compared to other months.  On the negative side were Atlantic croaker and spot, catches of which took a nose dive since September and were even lower than previous November cruises.  Click on the Larger Map link below the map to explore and interact with the current and previous ChesMMAP catch maps.
Up next, water quality results.  Atypical temperatures may explain some of the atypical catch results.  Happy New Year!

ChesMMAP Water Quality, Spring 2015

We are now heading into the warm (hot) field season when the water temperature and dissolved oxygen in the Chesapeake Bay become critical to our relative catch size.  This spring, ChesMMAP experienced the coldest water temperatures on record during the March cruise.  But the May cruise heated up significantly, showing some small areas already becoming hypoxic.  Compare the March and May bottom water temperatures, and see where hypoxic zones are cropping up below.

May 2015 Bottom Water Temperature, ChesMMAP

View larger map

May 2015 Bottom Dissolved Oxygen, ChesMMAP

 View larger map

ChesMMAP 2015, May Cruise Catch Results

After a chilly start to the ChesMMAP field season (March 2015 water temperatures were the coldest on record) and low catches, the May cruise ended on a more productive note with 36 species represented.  Click on the View Larger Map link below to fully interact with the May ChesMMAP catches.

View larger map

Crew:  J. Gregg, D. Gregg (cheif scientist), G. Mears, J. Eckert, B. Davis, T. Moore, and M. Oliver
Captian: John Olney Jr.
Mate: Keith Mayer

NEAMAP Spring 2015

The Spring 2015 NEAMAP cruise is complete!  Survey catches were low down South due to chilly water temperatures, but it was gangbusters up North!

Our crew almost immediately jumped on board the R/V Bay Eagle for our May 2015 ChesMMAP cruise. Field season is such a busy time of year when you are juggling 3 different surveys!

For your viewing pleasure here are some cool shots shared from the field this past cruise:

Photo credits: Gregg Mears, Jeff Eckert and CJ Sweetman

Please click the images for a larger view!


F/V Darana R fishing off of Atlantic City, NJ during the 2015 spring NEAMAP cruise

Northern stargazer, Astroscopus guttatus
“Northern stargazers eat small fish, crabs and other crustaceans. The Northern stargazer has an organ on its head that can deliver an electric charge that stuns and confuses its prey and also helps ward off predators.”
Information from:


Northern puffer, Sphoeroides maculatus, all puffed up!


Sheepshead, Archosargus probatocephalus, has several rows of flat teeth to aid in crushing its prey


Large Longfin squid, Doryteuthis pealeii

striped searobin_west of montauk

Large striped sea robin, Prionotus evolans
“They have wing-like pectoral fins that they use to move along the bottom, feeding on shrimp, crabs, clams, and smaller fish.”
Information from: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/speciesid/fish_page/fish75a.html


Tautog, Tautoga onitis
“When they are not feeding, tautogs are known to find a hole and lie motionless on their side. The fish are so inactive at night that sport divers have been able to catch them by hand.”

Information from:

clearnose skate eye

Clearnose skate eyeball and spiracles, Raja eglanteria


Albino dogfish pup, Mustelus canis

lump fish

First time NEAMAP has caught a Lumpfish, Cyclopterus lumpus!
Lumpfish roe is used extensively in Scandinavian cuisine


Jeff Eckert holding a Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua. Fairly uncommon fish on NEAMAP

montauk doormat flounders

Gregg Mears holding a couple of large doormat flounders caught off Montauk, NY.
Summer Flounder, Paralichthys dentatus


Lateral view of a monkfish, Lophius americanus. Their large mouths are used to swallow their prey whole

baby monkfish

Juvenile Monkfish, Lophius americanus


Block Island Sound was FULL of Jellys!

Jeff Eckert holding a 20lb Monkfish

Jeff Eckert holding a 20lb Monkfish, Lophius americanus

Monkfish swallowed a Clearnose skate whole!

Monkfish swallowed a Clearnose skate whole!


Until next time! 


March 2015 ChesMMAP Bottom Water Temperatures

The March ChesMMAP cruise was indeed cold:  The average bottom water temperature was 3.9 degrees celsius with a minimum temperature of 0.81.  Compare the following map to previous years’ March cruises, 2013 and 2014.

View larger map