A literature review of feeding behavior and prey preferences of Striped Bass with special attention to predation on Atlantic Salmon smolt. Recipient: University of New Brunswick (Curry)

Recipient: University of New Brunswick (Curry)
Approved Amount: $6,900

The project will consist of a comprehensive literature review clearly outlining the feeding ecology and prey selection of Striped Bass anywhere that their presence overlaps with native Atlantic Salmon populations. The review will describe the behavior of Striped Bass in these river systems and how it relates to feeding behavior during the pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn (as these periods overlap with smolt migration) highlighting prey selection at this time. Existing reviews of Striped Bass diet (e.g. Ferry and Mather, 2012. Spatial and temporal diet patterns of subadult and small adult striped bass. Mar. Coast. Fish. 4:30-45) will be considered along with primary literature and other data sources.  Inclusion of the feeding behaviour of Striped Bass over its full range along the North American Atlantic coast during its spawning period, will further supplement the review.

Prey selection will be assessed concurrently with known abundance of alternative available food items to suggest mechanisms behind prey selection (i.e., are Atlantic Salmon a targeted prey item or an alternative when staple prey items are unavailable?). The paper will also address knowledge gaps in available information and suggest studies required to fill these gaps as well as highlight both strengths and weaknesses of existing analyses for future application.

As one example, the shortcomings of a recent diet study in the Miramichi river area, where an abundant Striped Bass population currently exists, will be discussed in detail and a scientifically robust plan to better address potential predation threats in such systems will be proposed.  While Atlantic Salmon smolt are suspected to be under threat from Striped Bass predation, this review will pave the way for a more comprehensive study of predatory threats to smolt in the Miramichi River.