Age and Size Composition of Commercial Catches of Blueback Herring and Alewife in Albemarle Sound, N.C. and Its Tributaries

Data on commercial catches of blueback herring and alewife were collected at eight locations in the Albemarle Sound area. Scale samples were taken from 1,214 bluebacks and 787 alewife. Bluebacks ranged in age from three to nine years. Alewife ranged in age from three to eight years. Age groups IV and V dominated catches of both species. Data from all locations combined indicated that virgin fish comprised 50 and 57 percent of the landings of blueback and alewife respectively. Samples from Scuppernong River contained 78 percent virgin bluebacks and 92 percent virgin alewife. Data from Scuppernong River were compared to data from Alligator River in 1973. Blueback samples from Scuppernong River contained 79 percent virgins while samples from Alligator River contained 45 percent virgin bluebacks. A possible problem of over-exploitation exists in Scuppernong River.

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