CFF researchers conduct ongoing studies at-sea and in the lab to understand fishing gear interactions and improve gear design and testing. Our research has contributed to improved fishing practices, the reduction of catch of non-target species, the development of equitable and sustainable fishing regulations and protection of endangered species.

Quantifying the selectivity characteristics of an extended link apron using a dredge cover net
Project Leads: Farrell Davis, Ricky Alexander, Liese Siemann
Project Duration: 2018-2020
Funding provided by: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside (RSA) Grant Program

The proposed project would expand upon previous work with extended link aprons which has shown great potential in reducing fish bycatch. CFF will conduct four research trips to evaluate the selectivity characteristics of one-way vertical extended link apron using a dredge cover net. Two dredges, one equipped with a standard apron and another with an extended link apron, will be towed simultaneously. A cover net will be affixed to both dredges, alternating between tows with and without cover nets. Catches from both dredges and both cover nets will be sorted, enumerated, and measured.

A modified foot sweep for bycatch reduction in the LA sea scallop fishery
 Project Leads: Ricky Alexander, Farrell Davis
Project Duration: 2017-2019
Funding provided by: NMFS Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program

The goal of this project is to test a modified flounder cookie sweep on the outer bale bars of the scallop dredge in the LAGC commercial scallop fleet and film fish-dredge interactions to monitor the effectiveness of gear modification. Catch data will be recorded during 25 DAS aboard an LAGC vessel during commercial fishing trips where catch is retained. If the gear modification proves successful, future testing can be expanded to other LAGC vessels.

Testing selectivity and raised webbing gillnets on target and non-target species in the Northeast haddock fishery
 Project Leads: Jason Clermont, Ricky Alexander, Samir Patel
Project Duration: 2017-2019
Funding provided by: NOAA/NMFS Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program

The goal of this project is to evaluate alternative gillnet gear characteristics designed to (1) improve access to abundant year classes of Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank haddock, and (2) simultaneously reduce bycatch by testing the effect of raised webbing and size selectivity of gillnets at mesh sizes of 6.0 and 6.5 inches on target and non-target species to determine if 6.0 inches is a more appropriate mesh size to target the expected large abundance of 18-24 inch length haddock in northwest Atlantic waters. Simultaneously, we will test the effect of raised webbing on target and non-target catches in both mesh sizes. The information gathered during the course of this proposed study has the potential to increase both the efficiency and environmental performance of gillnet gear and provide valuable data to both resource managers and fishermen. With the addition of video and temperature-depth data, we also expect to gain insight on direct and indirect mortality of all target and non-target species, as well a better depiction of other factors that influence gillnet selectivity and efficiency.

Improving a scallop dredge bag to reduce fish bycatch using flume tank testing and computational fluid dynamics
 Project Leads: Samir Patel and Jason Clermont
Project Duration: 2017-2019
Funding provided by: NOAA/NMFS Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program
All available CFF final reports can also be found on our Final Reports Page.

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