W-CO-5
Groundgear Windows To Reduce Winter Flounder Bycatch In Large Mesh Trawls In Southern New England

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 9:00 AM
Conway (The Marriott Little Rock)
Natalie Jones , School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, New Bedford, MA
Corinne Endres , School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, New Bedford, MA
Christopher Rillahan , School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, New Bedford, MA
Tor Bendiksen , Reidarís Manufacturing Inc., Fairhaven, MA
Aaron Williams , F/V Tradition
Sally Roman , Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Newport News, VA
Pingguo He , School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, New Bedford, MA
While targeting Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in the large mesh groundfish fishery in Southern New England, flatfish and other groundfish are taken as bycatch. The Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic stock of winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) is overfished. The project team designed an experimental groundgear to reduce bycatch of winter flounder while retaining commercially viable catches of Atlantic cod. The new groundgear contains semi-rigid rubber riser escape “windows” that are 45.7 cm wide and 20.3 to 30.5 cm high along the entire length of the groundgear. The windows are installed to trigger the escape response of winter flounder and juvenile, sublegal sized Atlantic cod. Sea trials were carried out south of Block Island, Rhode Island testing the experimental gear against commercial gear used commonly in this area. The presentation will report design, construction, sea trials, and results obtained thus far. Possible application of the gear to reduce other flatfish bycatch will also be discussed.