MARINE SURVEY
SCIENCE
 
BYCATCH SURVEY OF THE SCALLOP FISHERY
Optimizing the Georges Bank scallop fishery by maximizing meat yield and minimizing bycatch
 Principal investigators: Luisa Garcia and Liese Siemann
Funding provided by: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside (RSA) Grant Program
This long-term project examines the temporal and spatial variability of bycatch species in the Atlantic sea scallop fishery on Georges Bank. In 2011, the primary objective was to quantify yellowtail flounder bycatch rates in comparison to scallop meat yield, with the goal of optimizing the harvest of scallops while minimizing impacts to the yellowtail flounder stock. The project has since expanded and now incorporates: 1) examining bycatch rates of all groundfish species; 2) identifying seasonal changes in the maturity and reproductive cycles of groundfish and scallops; 3) comparing gear modifications to standard designs; 4) examining, quantifying, and analyzing scallop meat quality (e.g., gray meats, orange nodules); 5) assessing lobsters for shell disease and dredge damage; and 6) identifying the presence of flatfish disease. See our "Marine Disease" page for more information.
 
OPTICAL SURVEY OF OCEAN BOTTOM
Optical benthic surveys using the Habitat Mapping Camera (HabCam)
Principal investigators: Tasha O'Hara, Liese Siemann, and Stephen Davies.
Funding provided by: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside (RSA) Grant Program
Since 2017, CFF has managed and executed annual surveys of the sea scallop (Placopecten magellanicus) resource in scallop access areas throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions utilizing the HabCam v3 towed-array system. This survey is a collaboration between CFF researchers and our fishing industry partners in New Bedford, MA, with input from government resource managers and scientists. The primary objective of this annual survey is to document the distribution, survival, and growth of sea scallops to inform science and management decisions. The HabCam v3 uses a dual camera system to take 6 paired images per second of the seafloor, allowing scientists the possibility to process images in 3D and the ability to build mosaics of benthic habitats. The system is towed 24-hrs a day while on survey , collecting over a half million images per day. All images are annotated at regular intervals, so each annotated “station” is, at most, a few hundred meters apart; this is significantly closer than most standard gear-based resource survey stations. Additional information on the distribution of potential scallop predators, bycatch species, substrate, and oceanographic conditions are also collected.. 
 
 
BAITED UNDERWATER VIDEO SURVEYS
Developing a method for assessing blueline and golden tilefish stocks using a baited underwater video system
 Principal Investigators: Liese Siemann, Samir Patel, and Farrell Davis
Funding provided by: NOAA/NMFS Saltonstall-Kennedy Program
The purpose of this project is to determine the feasibility of using a pelagic baited underwater video (BUV) system to derive a fishery-independent indices to assess blueline (Caulolatilus microps) and golden (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) tilefish populations. These species are important recreational and commercial fish species. Currently, there is no fishery-independent assessment for either species, and developing appropriate surveys is a management priority. Video surveys are now routinely used for sea scallop assessments, and BUV systems are often used to collect fishery-independent data for commercially harvested reef fish. CFF designed and built a BUV system to withstand the more than 100m depth where tilefish reside, and  a variety of bait options were tested to determine which was the most effective for attracting tilefish. Data collected with the BUV’s stereo camera system are analyzed to determine accurate estimates of fish size. Findings from this study will be used to estimate a size- and age-class structure for the population and define an objectively defined characteristic for each fish.
 
Winter flounder
Investigating offshore essential fish habitat of Southern New England winter flounder
Principal investigators: Liese Sieman and Samir Patel, and Carl Huntsberger, University of Maine
Funding provided by: Saltonstall-Kennedy Competitive Research Award Program .

In this study, CFF identified non-estuarine spawning locations of winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) to show that spawning is taking place outside of estuaries in southern New England (SNE) to a substantial extent. The current essential fish habitat (EFH) described for winter flounder are estuarine and riverine habitats. However, more recent data gathered from trawl surveys and acoustic telemetry suggests that groups of winter flounder spawn outside of estuaries. The CFF study provides information needed to define and protect essential fish habitat, reduce bycatch, and contribute to jobs and the economy in our region.

All available CFF published studies and final reports can also be found on our  Literature page.

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