Cooperative Research in the Northeast
Cooperative research engages the fishing community in order to answer science questions and improve management of the region’s fisheries.
Cooperative research is the partnership between the fishing industry and the science community to improve information about commercial fishing operations and the species they harvest. This partnership produces tools to collect and share data that advance science and fishing, and facilitates communication and collaboration among fisheries professionals in the Northeast.
Herring Bycatch Avoidance
The River Herring Project is designed to help the small mesh bottom trawl herring fleet avoid river herring (Alewife and Blueback Herring) bycatch by understanding the daily variation in river herring catches.
The NEFSC Study Fleet Groundfish Conversion Factor Project was started in order to review and update current conversion factors used to calculate the total (round) weight from the graded weight of landed catch. This calculation makes it possible to examine the significance of variables such as time, space, sex, and maturity and to determine if a model-based approach is more appropriate than current static factors.
The Northern Shortfin Squid Project was implemented to incorporate the insights and experiential knowledge of the fishing industry into our understanding of shortfin squid (Illex illecebrosus) population variability. Key components of the project are estimating the spatial impact of the squid fishery, analyzing patterns in size distribution and catch rates, and developing methods to make in-season predictions of relative abundance to support adaptive management techniques.
Industry-based collaboration has provided samples of species for focused, short-term studies. Herring samples have been obtained to evaluate skipped spawning and the proportion of fish that spawn in the spring or the fall. Haddock samples are being examined to better understand the reproductive dynamics in the Gulf of Maine and on Georges Bank, where extreme fluctuations in reproduction occur.
Recent efforts have also targeted sampling for data-poor species such as cusk and wolffish. These species have limited life history information available in the western North Atlantic. Given the challenges with data-poor species, industry-based sampling can be especially valuable, and increased data obtained from commercial catches of these species will help fill data gaps and improve the information available to resource managers and stock assessment biologists.
For more information on the Enhanced Biosampling program, please contact:
- Mark Wuenschel at Mark.Wuenschel@noaa.gov
The Cooperative Gulf of Maine Bottom Longline Survey originated in 2014 as a way to collect data on species that are not well sampled by trawl gear due to their rocky habitat. More survey and biological data were needed to improve assessments for these species, several of which are economically important. The survey has collected more than 6,200 life history samples and 1,300 samples for detailed reproductive and ageing studies.
Study Fleet is a subset of fishing vessels from which high quality, self-reported data on fishing effort, area fished, gear characteristics, catch, and biological observations are collected. Participating vessels fish in commercial mode, and are selected to be representative of the larger fleet over time. The data collected from these vessels can be used to supplement the stock assessment process.
Go-FISH Data Dashboard
Graphical Offshore Fishing Information System Homepage (GOFISH) is a computer fishing aid, data visualization and analysis app that is being developed by the Cooperative Research Branch of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center for commercial fishing captains and vessel owners participating in the Study Fleet Program that provides them mapping, graphing and analysis of their fishing data.
Fisheries Logbook Data Recording Software Electronic Logbook Application
The Fisheries Logbook Data Recording Software (FLDRS) is a tool to assist the fishing industry in collecting accurate and timely fisheries data while at sea. FLDRS is used by fishermen to collect fine scale data to improve the understanding of fishing activities and gears, fish populations, and oceanographic influences. FLDRS has been certified by the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office for electronic Vessel Trip Reports (eVTR). FLDRS can record data for fishing gear such as trawl hauls, longline sets, gillnet sets, or pot strings. The data describe both individual fishing efforts (gear, duration, location, etc.) and the trip as a whole (departure and landings, ports, dealers, etc.). The user can collect data either by recording each haul and its catch separately (haul-by-haul), or by aggregating the catch made during one segment of the trip (subtrip).
Onboard Weather Stations
The latest technology to be added aboard commercial fishing boats is a stand-alone meteorological package NEFSC oceanographer Jim Manning describes as a “shipboard weather station.” The weather station includes a barometer to measure atmospheric pressure, an anemometer to measure wind speed and direction, and an air temperature gauge. The station also has a built-in computer that factors out the ship’s motion to derive true wind speed and direction.
Temperature Depth Sensors
Cooperative Research staff work with commercial fishing partners to help NEFSC Oceanographers expand their data collection efforts on bottom temperatures. By outfitting a fishing vessel with 1 of 3 different logger types, we're able to assimilate important environmental data into numerical oceanographic models such as NERACOOS and MARACOOS, much the same way the National Weather Service uses observations of air temperatures on land in their forecast models.