Testing of a Modified Groundgear to Reduce the Catch of SNE Winter Flounder in the Large Mesh Groundfish Fishery
- Program: Challenge Grant Program for Conservation Engineering Projects
- Total Amount Awarded: $199,902.82
- Project Duration: December 1, 2012 - June 30, 2014
- Status: Completed
- Pingguo He, SMAST, UMASS, Dartmouth
- Natalie Jones, SMAST, UMASS, Dartmouth
- Tor Bendikson, Reidar’s Manufacturing, Inc.
- Captain Aaron Williams, F/V Tradition, Pt. Judith, RI
The project team would like to expand on previous proof-of-concept projects to conduct comprehensive full-scale testing of an experimental groundgear with “escape windows” designed to reduce the catch of Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic (SNE) winter flounder and sub-legal Atlantic cod, while retaining the catch of legal-sized cod in the Southern New England region. The proposed project will build on previous work funded by the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (CFRF) completed in 2011 and 2012, during which preliminary sea trials were carried out with promising results. The initial proof-of-concept project tested a large mesh panel behind the fishing line in the belly in conjunction with the experimental groundgear. The second phase of the proof-of-concept project, which incorporated recommendations from the Conservation Engineering Review Panel of the CFRF, focused on testing the experimental groundgear only without a large mesh panel. Based on the results from the phase two project, the project team has been invited by CFRF to submit a full proposal to expand the testing of the experimental groundgear to in order to gain more robust results with statistical significance.