Nearly 1.5 million fish and other species have been caught and counted since New Jersey began surveying the Delaware River in 1980.
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife released a report in last month from its 2016 Delaware River Seine Survey.
The primary purpose of the yearly effort is to monitor the striped bass population but the survey also keeps track of other species. Water quality parameters such as salinity, water temperature and dissolved oxygen are also recorded.
A seine (pronounced sane) is a net with floating devices at the top and sinkers at the bottom. A crew member on the shore will hold one end of the 100-foot-long, 6-foot-deep net while a boat drags it out into the water and uses the current to set it before turning back towards the bank to form a “U” shape.
To complete the haul, the net is pulled onto land from both ends and the catch is funneled into a bag in the center of the net.
The five most abundant species caught over the last 37 years are 253,958 blueback herring, 233,551 Atlantic menhaden, 217,922 bay anchovies, 150,513 white perch and 114,358 American shad.
In terms of percentage of species, those top five represent, respectively, 18, 16, 15, 10 and 8 percent for a total of 67 percent of all fish caught.
The primary target species, striped bass, is the 11th most commonly captured at 35,613, which is about 2.5 percent of the total.
As for some other popular sport species, 2,091 channel catfish, 385 carp, 310 largemouth bass and 248 smallmouth bass have been tallied since 1980.
The 32 current survey stations, which result in 288 seine hauls each year, focus on the Delaware estuary, which is an area where freshwater from the Delaware River mixes with saltwater from the Delaware Bay.
The southernmost sampling area is in the brackish waters south of the Delaware Memorial…