Habitat characterization and sea scallop resource enhancement study in a proposed habitat research area

Principal researchers: CFF in collaboration with Kevin Stokesbury, Susan Inglis, Changsheng Chen - SMAST

Funding provided by: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program

The encompassing goal of this multi-year project is to demonstrate the feasibility of a seeding program to enhance and stabilize scallop recruitment on Georges Bank while documenting the factors that affect seed survival.

In 1998, Coonamessett Farm managed a Sea Scallop Enhancement and Sustainable Harvesting project that developed and demonstrated the technology to enhance sea-scallop production on a sustainable basis, using the existing New England fishing industry and infrastructure. This project established a pilot sea scallop culture operation and determined factors affecting scallop growth and survival as well as efficient handling methods. An approach was used which matches the constraints and resources of the present industry as well as competing marine interests. The offshore culturing operation was designed for servicing by vessels currently engaged in wild capture. The engineering of large-scale grow-out facilities and the demonstration of efficient handling methods were the core, initial components of the project. Final stage grow-out was later accomplished through the transfer of undersized animals from wild harvesting.

Aquaculture, sea-scallop enhancement, sea scallop culturoffshore aquaculture, aquaculture in windfarm areas, Atlantic offshore aquaculture, habitat characterization, offshore culturing, sustainable seafood,

Scallop seed was harvested from natural seedbeds on Georges Bank and the Nantucket Lightship Area and transplanted in experimental seed beds in locations where scallops had been known to thrive. Spat collectors were also deployed to monitor recruitment dynamics in these locations. The success of the transplanting experiment was evaluated based on scallop survival, growth, and dispersal of scallop seed as well as changes in population density of scallops and predators. Stereo camera stands were deployed during in 2018 to document the first 24 hours of the transplanted scallops.


Improving oceanographic models of bottom temperature within the Mid-Atlantic Bight through novel data assimilation and stakeholder input

The proposed project will improve oceanographic models used to forecast temperature within Mid-Atlantic waters and produce continuously updated temperature products for fishermen and managers. We will utilize a collaborative industry-science-management Working Group approach previously developed for the US Atlantic mackerel stock assessment. Specifically, CFF will incorporate several years of temperature data accrued from animal-borne sensors, autonomous ocean gliders, commercial fishing gear, and trawl surveys to improve numerical modeling of the 10oC Cold Pool. Then, we will assimilate the calibrated data into existing Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) coastal ocean models used in the historic hindcast, contemporary nowcast and future forecast modes.


Coonamessett Farm Foundation conducted research aboard the F/V Perseverance, operating out of Fairhaven, MA, to conduct nine exploratory fishing trips for unexploited oceanic squid resources east of the continental shelf waters off New England and the Mid-Atlantic. The trips took place from September through November 1996. The vessel was outfitted with lights and electronic jigging machines. The objective was to determine the economic feasibility of a commercial fishery for oceanic squid using existing large offshore vessels by assessing species availability, distribution, and economic return. The results indicated that a potential resource of neon flying squid, Ommnestrephes bartramii, may exist in the region.


Coonamessett Farm, working with the F/V Sandra Jane, continued the exploratory jigging for the neon flying squid we discovered while working under a grant from the Federal S-K program. The work consisted of two cruises in June and August of 1997 to further identify the seasonal distribution of this squid species.


This project, conducted in the spring of 1991, entailed the development of a scallop fishery off the coast of Uruguay. BIVAR, whose vessels fished for hake, hired Coonamessett Farm to investigate the potential of a scallop resource. This involved the development of a scallop trawl, explorations to determine the location and size of the resource, and creation of a harvesting and processing system.

© 2018 Coonamessett Farm Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.