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!