Thank you from CFRF!

CFRF Thank You.jpg

From all of us here at the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation, THANK YOU for your generous donations throughout the Annual Giving Campaign and ongoing support of our mission. We can’t do what we do without the partnership and dedication of members of the fishing industry, science community, and food system. YOU make our work truly impactful. The CFRF has some exciting new initiatives on the horizon and we can’t wait to share them with all of you!

The CFRF Team
Anna, Terry, Thomas, Aubrey, Mike, Fred, David, Jeff, Mark, John, Jon, Donald, Jim, and Chris

Maine Fishermen's Forum: March 1-3rd, Rockport, Maine

We are excited to be traveling to Maine for the Maine Fishermen's Forum (March 1-3rd)!

CFRF will be hosting a seminar on Saturday, March 3rd @ 9am. We hope many industry members will be in attendance! If you can not make it for our seminar, be sure to stop by our booth and say hi.

Title of seminar: Embracing Ecosystem Change: Can Jonah Crab, Black Sea Bass and Fishing Communities Get Along?

The ocean is an interconnected ecosystem and things are changing fast. More southern species are appearing off the coast of New England, new species and markets are emerging, and the fishing community must adapt. This seminar will explore how recent changes in Southern New England may be applicable to the Gulf of Maine and what fishermen can do to maximize resiliency. The Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (CFRF) and a panel of fishermen will present recent research on species of emerging importance (Jonah crab and black sea bass), and hear from fishermen in Southern New England about how they have adapted their businesses to changes in species availability, market opportunities, and fisheries management. There will be ample opportunity for discussion and input from the audience.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Contribute to the CFRF's 2017 Giving Campaign!

The Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation is the only fishing industry led research organization in New England … and we need your help to keep it going! Today is #GivingTuesday and the CFRF is kicking off its 2017 Giving Campaign. Please consider donating today (or any day!) to help the CFRF continue its efforts to involve fishermen in scientific research, increase access to and appreciation of the seafood harvested by the region's hard working fishermen, and develop new initiatives that sustain healthy fisheries and vibrant fishing communities across New England. The CFRF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are fully tax-deductible.


Since the CFRF’s inception in 2003, we have worked with over 135 fishermen as well as hundreds of fisheries scientists, managers, and culinary professionals to achieve our mission of supporting sustainable fisheries resources and resilient fishing communities. The CFRF’s work has covered a wide range of topics, including conservation gear engineering, bycatch reduction, lobster settlement and recruitment, spiny dogfish stock dynamics, discard mortality estimation, fish habitat characterization, shellfish larval dynamics, industry based biological data collection, underutilized species processing and marketing, socio-economic characterizations of fishing communities, supplemental fisheries surveys, offshore wind energy research, and seafood access and sustainability initiatives. All of the CFRF’s projects are carried out by teams of scientists, educators, chefs, and members of the fishing industry that work together to develop the project idea, execute work components, and apply results. The CFRF’s efforts have resulted in new tools to reduce bycatch, better data for stock assessments, and a growing sense of trust and cooperation among fisheries stakeholders. 

A major goal of the CFRF is to provide members of the fishing industry with the opportunity to help evolve and improve the management of fisheries resources and the efficiency of seafood supply chains. To do so, the CFRF has distributed over $1.5 million of compensation directly to fishermen for their participation, platforms, and invaluable input in CFRF projects. Conducting research and education that benefits that fishing industry is at the heart of CFRF’s mission, and we are very proud of our accomplishments to date.

In an effort to continue and expand our work, the CFRF is requesting your support during this giving season. Donations of all sizes help the CFRF to achieve its goal of building a community of collaboration among fishermen, scientists, resource managers, chefs, and educators that promotes sound science, public engagement, and sustainable seafood. You can donate to CFRF online, via mail, or in person.

Thank you!

CFRF November 2017 Newsletter Now Available!


If you are interested in learning more about all the current projects CFRF has underway, including recent milestones, and all the happenings within the foundation, either view or download a copy of our November 2017 newsletter.  In it we cover all project progress since our last newsletter, highlight new projects which have recently begun, and list upcoming events and meetings.

View the November 2017 newsletter here.

Download the November 2017 newsletter here.

To view and download all our past newsletters visit this link.

You're Invited: RI Fishing Industry Economic Impact Study Info Session


Who: All RI Fishing Business Owners (F/Vs, processors, distributors, gear shops, seafood dealers, marine insurance, safety training... everyone!)

What: Learn how you can help URI and CFRF prove the economic value of Rhode Island's fishing industry! Dr. Tom Sproul from URI will explain the value and outcomes of his previous economic analysis work for the RI agriculture industry, and will answer any and all questions that you have about the survey and project. CFRF and URI staff will also be available to help individuals complete the 5 minute survey, available here:

When: Tuesday, November 14th, 5-7pm

Where: Meeting Room above Superior Trawl in Point Judith (55 State Street, Narragansett, RI)

RSVP: To or (401) 515-4890

For more information about this project or to view Dr. Tom Sproul's video greeting, please visit .

We hope to see you there! 



You're Invited: Oceanographic Anomalies in Southern New England

What: An interactive workshop for the fishing industry to learn about the historic and current oceanographic conditions in Southern New England, discuss how fisheries species are responding, and develop predictions for the months to come. Dr. Glen Gawarkiewicz from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and Dr. Anna Mercer from the CFRF will present new oceanographic research and will facilitate a discussion with the fishing industry about patterns in ocean conditions, species distributions and abundances, and catch characteristics. 

When: Thursday, November 2nd, 5-7pm

Where: Meeting Room above Superior Trawl in Point Judith (55 State Street, Narragansett, RI)

RSVP: To Aubrey Ellertson ( or 401-515-4892)

This workshop is intended for members of the fishing community whose contributions are critical to connecting the dots between the environmental conditions across Southern New England and key fisheries resources. 

We hope to see you there!



100,000 Lobsters Sampled!

As of today, September 5th, the CFRF's Lobster and Jonah Crab Research Fleet has sampled over 100,000 lobsters since June 2013. This is an important milestone!!

2017 marks an important year for the CFRF's Lobster and Jonah Crab Research Fleet: 4 years of data collection!

Huge thank you to all of our fleet participants for their hard work and dedication!

For more information about CFRF's Lobster and Jonah Crab Research Fleet please visit our project page:


Please Join the CFRF to "Taste the Ocean State" on August 12th!

On Saturday, August 12th, the CFRF will host "Taste the Ocean State: Celebrate RI Seafood" at the The KITCHEN at The Boston Public Market. Please read on to learn more about the event and how you can participate!

Event Information:

Summer in New England calls for seafood! But with over 100 different species harvested throughout the year, it can be difficult to choose your next meal. Join the CFRF for an afternoon getting to know the seafood that is harvested locally, meeting the fishermen who bring it to your plate, learning the ropes of preparing summer seafood dishes, and taste the results for yourself! This event includes:

  • Lessons in local seafood diversity, availability, and sustainability
  • Stories and videos from local fishermen
  • Seafood cooking demonstrations with Chef Maureen Pothier and Chef Matt Britt from Johnson and Wales University
  • Tasting of seafood dishes prepared by Chefs Pothier and Britt
  • Coupons to Red’s Best for purchasing seafood after the event
  • Seafood recipes and information to take home
  • Lessons in the science of seafood sustainability from the CFRF

When: Saturday, August 12th, 1-3PM

Where: The KITCHEN, at the Boston Public Market, 100 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02108

Tickets: This event is free and open to the public, but please RSVP here!

More Information: CFRF’s RI seafood webpage or Eventbrite .

Event Partners: Johnson & Wales University, The Trustees, RI Local Food Bazaar, Red's Best, Eating with the Ecosystem

We hope to see you there!


Squid Research Discussion Summary

                On July 12th, the CFRF hosted a meeting in which Dr. David Richardson and Dr. John Manderson from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) presented, to a room full of fishing industry members and fisheries scientists, the most recent research findings and further questions being investigated about the squid resources along the East coast.

                Dr. Richardson presented recent findings made while analyzing past NEFSC offshore plankton trawl survey data. The offshore NEFSC plankton trawl began in the 1970s and has sampled 6 times every year since. While analyzing the larval squid samples, the diversity off the East coast was startling, with up to 25 different squid species being found. Longfin squid accounted for the greatest abundance within the larval samples (85-90%). Relying on larval surveys and aging databases, Dr. Richardson has begun to determine where the squid found in the Northeast could be originating from. As squid are a short-lived species, typically living only 6-9 months, the location of squid larvae throughout the year indicate where and when adult squid are spawning. Dr. Richardson has found that squid larvae are nearly absent from the Northeast shelf during winter months, suggesting that the squid that support the summer fishery originate elsewhere. The most probable point of origination/spawning is the Southeast shelf, where larval squid are abundant during winter months. Squid spawned in the Southeast during the winter could be transported northward via the Gulf Stream to recruit into the Northeast squid fishery during the spring and summer. During the summer months, larval squid are abundant across the Northeast continental shelf. It is believed that these squid remain in the Northeast and recruit into the fishery in the fall and winter.  

                Dr. Manderson presented a summary of his research surrounding methods for monitoring and managing fisheries utilizing real-time oceanographic technology and catch monitoring systems. With the system applied in the squid fishery, Manderson is able to monitor how the squid fishery and landings respond to changing oceanographic conditions. Ultimately, this type of automatic analysis system could be utilized by individual fishermen to target locations based on ideal oceanographic conditions. One specific example that Dr. Manderson provided was to target specific temperatures and salinities to maximize target species abundance and minimize bycatch. On a larger scale, this approach could be applied to monitor how the oceanographic conditions are evolving over a region throughout each season to begin to predict the potential appropriate harvest levels based on those conditions.


For a full audio recording of the presentation contact Thomas Heimann, CFRF Research Associate, at or 401-515-4892.

Squid Research Discussion, July 12th 1PM

Please join the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation at 1PM on Wednesday, July 12th for a discussion about the past, present, and future of squid along the East Coast. Dr. David Richardson and Dr. John Manderson from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center will present recent research on squid population dynamics, with an open discussion session to follow. This event is for members of the fishing industry only and will be held at the Commercial Fisheries Center, East Farm Campus, URI, Building 61B, Kingston, RI.

As a teaser, below is a map of Longfin Squid distribution in the 1970s (blue area) and 2010s (red area). We will talk about what this means for the squid population and fishery now and for the years to come.

We hope you can join us!  Please RSVP to Teresa Winneg at or 401-515-4890.




The CFRF and URI are seeking three commercial lobster F/Vs to participate in the Southern New England Cooperative Ventless Trap Survey (SNECVTS) in the Cox’s Ledge Wind Energy Area from May to November 2017. This project is a continuation of the SNECVTS survey conducted in 2014/2015, and aims to assess the seasonal distribution, movement, and habitat use of the American lobster and Jonah crab in the Cox’s Ledge area.

Each F/V participant will charter 2 biologists for 3 days per month from May - November 2017. All sampling days within a month will be five days apart to achieve a standardized soak time.

Compensation includes $2300 per sampling day (21 days total), $1800 for completion of full sampling season, $1000 for project set up, $1000 for project break down, and reimbursement of additional insurance costs.

Please see application HERE and project briefing document HERE for more information about the participant requirements and scope of work. Or visit the project website HERE.

Applications are due to the CFRF via mail, email, or fax by Wednesday, April 26th.

ATTENTION: Rhode Island Fishing Business Owners


The Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation is working with Dr. Thomas Sproul at the University of Rhode Island to assess the economic impact of the fishing industry in the state of Rhode Island. This work is expected to shed light on the importance of the fishing community to Rhode Island’s economy, work force, and food system. It is essential that all RI fishing businesses participate in this survey, so that the economic assessment is accurate!

Please take 10 minutes to fill out the survey at will need your business’ gross revenue and employment records for the last three years to complete the survey. Your survey response will be 100% confidential and your data will not be shared with any third party or government agency. After the survey is completed, members of the fishing industry will be able to access aggregate data summaries tailored to their interests. 

To read more about the specifics of the project visit the project webpage.  Please contact Anna Malek Mercer at or 401-515-4662 for questions or assistance.

Thank you for your participation!

CFRF January 2017 Newsletter Now Available!

If you are interested in learning more about all the current projects CFRF has underway, including recent milestones, and all the happenings within the foundation, download a copy of our January 2017 newsletter.  In it we cover all project progress since our last newsletter and highlight new projects which have recently begun.

Download the January 2017 newsletter here.

To view and download all our past newsletters visit this link.


CFRF Begins New Fisheries Economic Impact Project

The CFRF in collaboration with University of Rhode Island Professor Tom Sprouls have begun a new project which seeks to assess the economic impact of fisheries within the state of Rhode Island. The project goal is to determine the total direct and indirect impact of fisheries within the state as well as identify opportunities for growth within the fishing industry.

To read more about the specifics of the project visit the project webpage.

CFRF Hosts First Black Sea Bass Fleet Training Session

On the evening of November 29th, CFRF was proud to host the members of our Black Sea Bass Research Fleet for the first project training session.

During the meeting, fleet members were formally introduced to project sampling protocols and equipment. Further, the Black Sea Bass Version of On Deck Data was unveiled and fleet members were familiarized.

The training session was immensely insightful as fleet members offered gear-type specific suggestions to help improve the Black Sea Bass Application to best fit their fishing. Input such as this has proved to be essential when working with representative from 6 different gear types!

For more information about the project visit the project webpage.

CFRF Welcomes the Black Sea Bass Research Fleet

The CFRF in partnership with RI DEM, is launching a black sea bass research fleet with members of the RI fishing industry. The project involves fishermen collecting biological and effort data on black sea bass during routine fishing practices.

We would like to proudly welcome Todd Sutton, Kenneth Murgo, Tim Baker, Harry 'Trip' Whilden, Philip Merris, Mike Monteforte, Aaron Gewirtz, and Rick Bellavance to the black sea bass research fleet!

To read more about the project CLICK HERE

Call for Applications: CFRF Black Sea Bass Research Fleet

The CFRF, in partnership with RI DEM, is launching a Black Sea Bass Research Fleet in the Southern New England and Mid-Atlantic Bight region. The project will employ Rhode Island commercial and recreational fishermen, utilizing a variety of gear types, to collect biological and fishery data on black sea bass throughout the year. Data will be collected and transmitted using a specifically designed black sea bass sampling app on Android tablets. Research Fleet participants will sample black sea bass within their typical fishing grounds throughout the year. For more information about the project CLICK HERE.

CFRF is currently soliciting fishermen to participate in the Black Sea Bass Research Fleet. Applicants must hail out of Rhode Island and regularly interact with black sea bass throughout the fishing year (either as targeted catch or bycatch). Eight fishermen will be selected to participate in the Research Fleet, based upon areas and times of year fished, frequency of interaction with black sea bass, experience with cooperative research, and gear type. For more information about participant responsibilities and sampling protocols CLICK HERE.

If you would like to apply to participate in the Black Sea Bass Research Fleet, please fill out the application and submit to CFRF either via email, fax or mail to CFRF. To download the vessel application, CLICK HERE.

The deadline for applications is Friday, September 23, 2016.



CFRF BLACK SEA BASS RESEARCH FLEET:  On September 1st., the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (CFRF), in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM), will launch a one-year pilot project to develop a cost-effective method to collect critically needed fishery dependent data on black sea bass (Centropristis striata) in the Southern New England and Mid-Atlantic Bight region. The project will be approached collaboratively by a team of commercial and recreational fishermen and fisheries scientists and managers, and will involve eight months of black sea bass catch and discard characterization from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras. The Black Sea Bass Research Fleet will involve eight fishing vessels from a variety of gear types, including trawl, lobster/crab trap, gillnet, and hook and line, in collecting biological black sea bass data as part of routine fishing practices. Participant fishermen will use a specialized tablet app to efficiently and accurately record biological information about black sea bass catch and bycatch throughout the year. The results from the proposed project will help to fill existing data gaps for the northern Atlantic black sea bass, which is an essential first step in developing a management plan that reflects the current state of the black sea bass resource.

The CFRF will be soliciting applications from fishing vessels based in Rhode Island to participate in the Black Sea Bass Research Fleet in September 2016. More information about the project, including application materials, will be available on the CFRF Black Sea Bass Research Fleet webpage.

The CFRF looks forward to getting the Black Sea Bass Research Fleet up and running! 

The CFRF Welcomes the Quahog Research Fleet!

The CFRF, in partnership with RWU and RI DEM, is launching a Quahog Research Fleet in Narragansett Bay. The project involves commercial shellfishermen in collecting biological quahog data via bullraking sampling as part of routine fishing practices. Project data will be used to supplement the RI DEM hydraulic dredge survey, ultimately providing more robust data for the quahog stock assessment. 

On August 10th,  the CFRF held the first training session for the Quahog Research Fleet. We are proud to welcome Bo Christensen, David Ghigliotty, Gerry Schey, Jarrod Goulart, and Ernest Wilcox to our fleet!

At the training session, fleet participants had a a chance to practice using the specialized tablet app (On Deck Data) and to get comfortable with the equipment and work flow. Everyone was very engaged and had great suggestions. We look forward to working with our fleet as they get up and running on September 1st! A huge thank you to our collaborators Dale Leavitt at Roger Williams University, and Conor McManus at RI DEM for their contributions to this project.  

For more information about the Quahog Research Fleet, please visit: .