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Image 1: Catch from a single 1 hour tow off of Jeffrey’s Ledge on December 22, 2014.

Image 2: Working up fish aboard the F/V Ellen Diane.

This project features a unique collaboration of experts on Atlantic cod stock structure and the commercial fishery, including research scientists at multiple institutions:

  • Drs. Kerr and Sherwood, and Zach Whitener at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute,
  • Dr. Kovach at the University of New Hampshire,
  • Dr. Cadrin and Doug Zemeckis at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, School for Marine Science & Technology, and
  • Captain David Goethel, F/V Ellen Diane, as well as
  • Support in the form of samples (live collections of fish and archived samples) from the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service and Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MADMF).

One of the exciting parts of this project is that we get out on the water with our project team. To understand these unique groups of fish, we need to collect cod while they are preparing to spawn to ensure they are indeed winter or spring spawners. This is where working with a fisherman is essential. We asked Captain Goethel to put us on spawning cod and he excelled at that in our first tow. In a single tow, we caught all of the male and female spawning cod that we needed to sample from the winter spawning group. While we can’t draw conclusions about stock status from a single tow, it is exciting to see an aggregation of spawning cod on Jeffrey’s Ledge, and we are hopeful that this is a positive sign for the population and future recruitment.