CFRF Gear Trials Program
The Gear Trials Program was part of the CFRF Challenge Grant Program for Conservation Gear Engineering Projects – Reduction of Winter Flounder Bycatch (funded under NOAA Award #NA09NMF4720414 through efforts by U.S. Senator Jack Reed, RI-D). Through the Gear Trials Program portion, the CFRF was able to administer a voucher program aimed at increasing the use of successful gear modifications to reduce winter flounder bycatch in the small mesh trawl fisheries (including squid, whiting, and scup), and conduct additional at sea research to test the gears’ effectiveness in new settings.
The Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation has completed its administration of the voucher program of the Gear Trials Program. Under this component, fishing vessel owners were able to obtain financial assistance to install one or both promising gear modifications onboard their vessels. These gear modifications included a large mesh belly panel and a 12”drop chain sweep which had previously been tested and found to be successful in reducing winter flounder bycatch in the squid fishery. Two gear supply companies, Superior Trawl Narragansett, RI and Reidar’s Trawl-Scallop Gear and Marine Supply, New Bedford, MA worked with the CFRF and fishing vessel owners to provide the gear. A total of 63 active fishing vessels in the southern New England/Mid-Atlantic region obtained vouchers under the program.
at sea Research:
As part of the Gear Trials Program, additional at sea research was also conducted to test these two gear types in the small mesh whiting fishery. Scientists from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program (CCE) the captains/crew of the F/V Lightning Bay and F/V Excalibur, and Jon Knight of Superior Trawl conducted the additional work. Paired tows were conducted using either the large mesh belly panel or the 12” drop chain sweep as the experimental component and a standard small mesh trawl as the control.
To view the at sea research project details – click here
To view the final report for this additional at sea research – click here
To view the CFRF Conservation Review Panel comments – click here