T-BC-8
Testing Of Modified Groundgear To Reduce Capture Of Yellowtail Flounder (Limanda ferruginea) and Sub-Legal Atlantic Cod (Gadas morhua) In The Georges Bank Multispecies Otter Trawl Fishery

Tuesday, September 10, 2013: 10:20 AM
Marriott Ballroom C (The Marriott Little Rock)
Corinne Endres , School for Marine Science and Technology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, New Bedford, MA
Natalie Jones , 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
Manuel Magalnaes , F/V Hera, New Bedford, MA
Sally Roman , Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Newport News, VA
Pingguo He , Fisheries Oceanography, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, New Bedford, MA
The fishing on Georges Bank faces great challenges due to lower stock abundances for many species and yet relatively healthy status for others.  Fish often mix with each other on the grounds and occupy the same niches. For example, Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and yellowtail flounder (Limanda ferruginea) often live in the same area.  The GB Yellowtail stock quota for FY 2013 has been reduced compared to the previous fishing year, as has the GB cod stock quota, which was drastically cut.  By-catch of these species while fishing for other fish goes toward a vessel's overall allocated quota for the by-catch species.  The decrease in yellowtail and juvenile or sub-legal cod as by-catch is of great interest and is a current goal of the fishing industry.  The modified groundgear that we tested has 8" x 8" 'escape windows' located between the fishing line and the groundgear. These windows take advantage of the escape behavior of sub-legal cod and flatfish.  They are designed to allow these fish a chance to escape prior to capture.  Generally, a fish’s survival is greater the sooner it escapes the net.  This paper will report methods and results of sea trials that were conducted on Georges Bank in June 2013. The reduction in the capture of sub-legal cod and Yellowtail Flounder will benefit the fishing industry by ameliorating the reduction of fish stocks.  With the ever-changing fishing regulations, having a variety of groundgears that are designed for specific species will become increasingly valuable.