We propose to test two off-bottom trawls (OBTs) to harvest underutilized, abundant Georges Bank haddock while simultaneously avoiding overexploited fish stocks such as Atlantic cod, yellowtail flounder, and windowpane flounder, and greatly reducing impacts to essential fish habitat. The overall goal is to collaborate with regional experts to access healthy stocks with OBT gear cost-effectively, using a selective, fuel efficient and seabed friendly fishing gear.
The project is divided into two core activities, one lead by GMRI and the other by MA DMF. Each activity involves testing an OBT design on a commercial fishing boat. The GMRI-led component of this project involves a three-phase process, i) testing of an OBT under normal fishing conditions, measuring trawl geometry, ease of handling and operation, and catch, ii) use of underwater cameras to verify OBT geometry and performance, and iii) comparative fishing experiments with a second trawler towing a standard groundfish trawl nearby. Overall we anticipate providing the ground fishing industry a detailed evaluation of OBT applicability in the fishery.
This is a collaborative project led by Mike Pol and David Chosid (MA DMF) with participating fishermen (Jim Odlin – Atlantic Trawlers Fishing, and Mark Phillips, F/V Illusion)