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Coonamessett Farm Foundation's (CFF) mission is to conduct scientific research and educational projects that support sustainable fisheries operations, local small-scale agriculture and aquaculture, and renewable energy sources for the benefit of the public.

What's new at CFF?


CFF is leading a collaborative research and outreach project to evaluate and promote modifications of baiting practices in the dogfish gillnet fishery with members of the Cape Cod commercial fishing community. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill had a large impact on great shearwaters and other seabird species, and reducing incidental mortality experienced at sea can help restore these injured species.


Based on conversations with fishery managers and commercial fishermen, it seems likely that shearwater bycatch spikes when fishermen put bait out as their gillnets are being deployed and the nets are near the surface. Anecdotal evidence suggests that baiting nets before or after setting may increase target catch while minimizing shearwater bycatch.

Field trials will test this hypothesis by collecting data on target catch and seabird bycatch using traditional fisheries data collection methods and videography. The results of this project will be shared broadly through direct engagement with fishermen and used to promote voluntary adoption of seabird bycatch reduction strategies.


A recent Feature Story published by NOAA Fisheries discusses important work on Leatherback turtles that CFF Research Biologist Samir Patel has been working on alongside other scientists and collaborators. Click on the Feature Story link for access to the article.  

2 /27/ 23


We are delighted to share with you that our Gear Conflict Report has officially been released on our website and is now available for public sharing and dissemination. This project, funded in 2023, was led by CFF staff members, Liese Siemann, Ph.D., Halley Myers, Victoria Oriole, and Justin Potter.


Gear Conflict Project Scope

To support the effort to develop on-demand ropeless fishing as a strategy for reducing commercial fixed-gear fishery impacts on critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, we used the expert knowledge of commercial fishermen to offer potential solutions for minimizing gear conflict between fixed-gear fishermen and between fixed- and mobile-gear fishermen.


For more information and direct access to the PDF, please click the buttons below.

Visit our Literature page and scroll down to Reports to find a link to this report.

Visit our Research Team page to learn more about the staff members involved.

Visit the Gear Conflict Page (under Media & Outreach) to find more info.

2 /26/ 23

 Join us this Wednesday (2/28) for an unforgettable evening at Aquatic Brewing! Our Science Night is back and we're excited to have CFF's research biologist, Natalie Jennings, as our guest speaker. Her presentation will delve into The Great South Channel Habitat Management Area Benthic Survey, where we explored the benthic habitats of Nantucket Shoals aboard the F/V Seafox through our surfclam project. Despite its challenging conditions, we were able to collect valuable data on habitat characteristics, species presence, and surfclam catch.  So mark your calendars and stop on by Wednesday night to see how we accomplished this goal! 


But that's not all - Aquatic will also have their taproom open from 4-8 pm and delicious snacks available for purchase. Don't forget to stop by our donations table where you can sponsor a scallop.  See you there!

2 /6/ 23

We have exciting news to share! The New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center will be screening the 2014 documentary, Sustaining Sea Scallops on Friday, February 16 at 7pm.


The event will take place at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park auditorium at 33 William Street in Downtown New Bedford. Doors open at 6:30pm If researchers are interested in attending there will be a Q & A session after the show.

We hope to see you there!

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1 / 8/ 23

We are thrilled to welcome our newest member, Alison Myers, to the CFF team! With a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology from the University of Rhode Island, Allie's passion for conservation has taken her on an incredible journey. From her time in the Peace Corps as a Coastal Resource Management specialist in the Philippines, to her certification as a North Pacific Groundfish Observer and subsequent observing experience in trawl, longline, and pot gear operations aboard numerous vessels in Alaska, to her contributions in the Long Island Sound Trawl survey while working for the State of Connecticut, and recently, as an Aquatic Ecology Monitor at Cape Cod National Seashore in Truro, Massachusetts, where she performed a comprehensive study on horseshoe crabs, Allie's expertise is vast and impressive. Beyond her professional pursuits, Allie finds joy in hobbies like backpacking, reading, and ocean swimming. We are lucky to have her on the team and can't wait to see what she accomplishes next.

12 / 18/ 23

Happy Monday everyone! The start of a new week calls for some exciting news and we couldn't be more proud to share it with you all. CFF Senior Biologist, Dr. Samir Patel, and co-authors recently had their peer-reviewed article published in Endangered Species Research. The article, titled, "Key issues in assessing threats to sea turtles: knowledge gaps and future directions," dives into the latest research on sea turtles - Through integrating expert knowledge on the key contemporary threats sea turtles face with current literature, the co-authors outline knowledge gaps in our understanding of the impact of key threats and identify how targeting future research and the involvement of emerging technologies could help assist those gaps, further encouraging informed conservation planning. 


If you’re interested in staying up to date with the latest turtle research relevant to this topic, be sure to also follow @Fuentes_MMPB on Twitter and @mtrecgroup on Instagram! Let's spread the word and continue to educate ourselves about the incredible wildlife that surrounds us. 🌎

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12 / 13 / 23

We are extremely proud to congratulate CFF Research Associate Ryan Munnelly and his co-authors on their recent success! As winner of an Editor's Choice Award from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) Journal of Marine Science, their article, “Applications and analytical approaches using imaging sonar for quantifying behavioural interactions among aquatic organisms and their environment” has been recognized for its outstanding quality and interest. This research has transformative impacts, as it provides a meta-analysis of 155 studies that delivers a unique insight into the value of imaging sonars for the future of underwater exploration.


To learn more about this valuable work, please visit our Literature tab on our website or click on the link below to be redirected to the PDF. You can also find the ICES' Twitter (now X) Page and the Editor’s Choice Award article below, complete with a short summary of the paper and a video featuring CFF's Ryan Munnelly. A huge congratulations to all involved - this is a tremendous achievement!

12 / 11 / 23

Last Thursday, CFF Project Manager / Research Associate, Dr. Andrew Corso and his fiancé Kharis Schrage, a PhD candidate at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, led a round of trivia questions at Aquatic Brewing’s Trivia Night. It was a fantastic night of beer, pizza, prizes, and (some) polar-themed questions!


This was the true kicker for the Science and Beer night at Aquatic Brewing this Wednesday, December 16. This has been an excellent event in the past and we’re excited to hear Dr. Andrew Corso and Kharis Schrage presenting their theme on Polar Express: A discussion of the fauna of the Arctic and Antarctic waters. All are encouraged to attend. The taproom will be open from 4-6pm and the presentation will begin at 6pm. We'll see you there!

12 / 6 / 23

Earlier this week, our research staff returned from another great trip - this time aboard the F/V Atlantic. This concludes the Seasonal Survey project for this year! We greatly appreciate the captain and crew of the vessel for making this trip a possibility and we're grateful to have made it out there during the window of good weather.

11 / 2 / 23

In October, CFF scientists had a great trip for our Seasonal Survey project on board the F/V Beiningen. Thanks to the captain and crew of the vessel for making this trip happen and all their hard work at sea. This ongoing project continues to collect fishery and biological data about sea scallops and other commercially important species

on Georges Bank.

9 / 5 / 23

Introducing CFF’s newest member, Monique Arsenault! Monique received her B.S. in Biomedical Science: Medical & Veterinary Science from the University of New Hampshire in 2016. During her undergraduate studies, Monique assisted in mark-recapture studies on green sea turtles in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. After graduating, she worked as a taxonomist on the Hudson River Project and then as an observer for the Northeast Groundfish Observer Program and Industry Funded Scallop Program. Monique then transitioned to her role as Lead Coordinator and Offshore Marine Safety Trainer for the observer program, working as a supervisor and instructor for three years. This week, Monique joined CFF’s team as a full-time instructor for our ASM Program. Let's give her a warm welcome!

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8 / 22 / 23

It has been a productive last couple of weeks! We had the privilege of working with an amazing group of trainees in our most recent At-Sea Monitoring (ASM) class. We were delighted to witness their enthusiasm and dedication throughout the session and sincerely appreciate their participation and contribution to the class.

8 / 15 / 23

Yesterday, our team returned from their field research trip, marking the first successful excursion of our 2023 RSA Seasonal Survey Project. We are proud of the hard work our researchers put in to make this trip a success, and we look forward to the important data they collected that will help us make informed decisions moving forward.

8 / 11 / 23

CFF staff member and Senior Marine Biologist, Dr. Samir Patel, was recently featured in the Provincetown Independent's article, "Warmer Waters Put Sea Turtles on Collision Course With Humans" by Georgia Hall. In his interview with this local news source, he provides insight into the effects of rising temperatures on sea turtle migration in the North Atlantic Ocean, leaving them increasingly vulnerable to fishing pressures. Dr. Patel's expertise in turtle behavior and marine resource surveys is invaluable in understanding the impacts of climate change on our marine ecosystems.

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8 / 7 / 23

Today marks an exciting new chapter for the At-Sea Monitoring Program, as we embark on a new session. Our dedicated staff are eager to get to work and continue making a positive impact. Here's to a successful session!

7 / 18 / 23

The HabCam v3 season is officially over! CFF had a very successful season having completed over 1500nm of tracks for the annual RSA stock assessment survey.

6 / 27 / 23 

It’s a wrap on Leg 1! We’re proud of our HabCam team for completing over 600nm in the Nantucket Lightship-South, Southern Flank, and Closed Area 2 South before returning to the dock last week. This past Friday marked the start for Leg 2 of HabCam, which will have us venturing over 900nm throughout the Mid-Atlantic from

Block Island to the Elephant Trunk.

6 / 2 / 23

Introducing Andrew Corso! Andrew is CFF's newest member, working as a Research Biologist. He is also a project manager for the marine surveys and offshore wind project. Andrew received his Ph.D. in Fisheries Science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in 2023. Andrew’s doctoral research was focused on the diversity and impacts of climate change on Antarctic fishes. During his Ph.D., he also created several outreach programs, completed a sub-concentration in Marine Policy with a focus on aquaculture law, and taught an undergraduate course on marine bioinspiration. Andrew is excited to contribute to the responsible development of offshore wind while preserving ecosystem health and promoting positive stakeholder relationships.

Sustaining Sea Scallops Documentary Film

Our feature film, Sustaining Sea Scallops, is now available online!  Check out the promo clip here.

Watch the full documentary to learn how the collaborative research model embraced by CFF helped a flagging scallop fishing industry rebound.



CFF's Amazon Smile

Designate CFF as your charity at Smile Amazon and support our research every time you shop! Click the image above to visit Coonamessett Farm Foundation's Amazon Smile page.


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