Stock Structure of Winter Flounder
Publications: Success Stories (Research)

A sampling of results and impacts from completed New York Sea Grant-funded research projects, written during the period February 1, 2009 – January 31, 2010

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Stock Structure of Winter Flounder Using Two Complementary Nuclear DNA Approaches
R/XG-17, Wirgin

Winter flounder populations coastwide, and particular in the New York area, are at or near alltime lows of abundance. Effective management of exploited marine species requires detailed knowledge of their stock structure. This information can allow managers to draft different regulations for those populations that are healthy and those which exhibit continued downward trends.

Currently, winter flounder are managed as three stocks: north of Cape Cod in the Gulf of Maine, south of Cape Cod in southern New England and the mid-Atlantic Bight, and offshore at Georges Bank.

Using state-of-the-art genetic approaches involving microsatellite and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses, this study investigated the coastwide stock structure of winter flounder to elucidate the genetic relatedness of populations and the extent of gene flow among them.

Results suggest that stock structure in winter flounder essentially followed that of the management paradigm, i.e., strong differentiation between virtually all populations north and south of Cape Cod and between Georges Bank and almost all other populations.

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