Development of a Fishermen-Based Research Fleet to Contribute to the Management of Quahog
(Mercenaria mercenaria) Resources in Rhode Island Waters

Quahogs sampled to date


(as of January 31, 2019)


General Description:

The primary goal of the this pilot project is to initiate a new era of cooperation and
communication among fishermen, scientists, and resource managers that will support a successful,
sustainable, transparent, and collaborative management approach for the quahog fishery in
Narragansett Bay.


The project objectives include:

  1. Establish a quahog research fleet that has the knowledge, tools and validity to contribute to the current RI-DEM quahog stock assessment data collection program;

  2. Reduce uncertainties in the current quahog stock assessment and promote sustainable management of the quahog resource by addressing existing spatial and temporal data limitations;

  3. Develop a model for industry-based data collection that can be duplicated in other fisheries and regions;

  4. Build capacity to involve RI shellfishermen in coastal monitoring and other types of marine research.

Project Team:

  • Anna Malek Mercer, CFRF

  • Thomas Heimann, CFRF

  • Dale Leavitt, RWU

  • Conor McManus, RI DEM

Participant Shellfishermen:

  • Bo Christensen- Warwick Cove, RI

  • David Ghigliotty- Warwick, RI

  • Gerald Schey- Warwick Cove, RI

  • Jarrod Goulart- Warren, RI

  • Ernest Wilcox- Wickford, RI



Project methods will be centered around three major work components:

  1. Organize, train, and implement a Quahog Research Fleet to collect biological quahog data via bullrake sampling, focusing on areas that are inaccessible to the RI DEM hydraulic dredge survey;

  2. Calibrate the catch efficiency of bullrake sampling and the RI-DEM hydraulic dredge survey via in-situ SCUBA observations to allow for direct integration of quahog research fleet data with the existing dredge survey time series;

  3. Analyze and apply project data to the quahog stock assessment; and

  4. Develop a mechanism for quahog research fleet participants to be involved in RI DEM quahog stock assessment efforts


Project Timeline :

  • February- July 2016: Equipment and protocol preparation, development of data collection app, and data management system

  • April 2016: Establishment of Project Steering Committee

  • April - July 2016: Solicitation, review and selection of Quahog Research Fleet participants

  • August 2016: Training of Quahog Research Fleet participants

  • September 2016- December 2018: Quahog Research Fleet data collection

The application period for this project has closed, as of June 15th, 2016. If you would like to submit an application for future consideration, please fill out the application and forward either via email, fax or mail to CFRF.  To download the vessel application, CLICK HERE.  To download the vessel briefing document, CLICK HERE.

This project is supported by:

PRoject PhOTOS: