The GEARNET Network

Growing GEARNET, the Northeast Groundfish Gear Conservation and Demonstration Network ...

In recent months, NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center Cooperative Research Program (CRP) has spearheaded a new approach to collaborative fisheries research in the Northeast region - the focus is to enable a gear conservation engineering network for the Northeast region.

This new approach is based on the idea that fishing gear conservation research can achieve greater successes and more efficient adoption of effective gear modifications, if we work as a network rather than as isolated, project-based industry-research partnerships. As such, the network approach encourages the pooling of resources, expertise and equipment.

The CRP has provided specific network training to enable fishermen, researchers, gear manufacturers and fisheries managers in the Northeast region to foster and grow a wider gear conservation engineering network, which is not restricted to specific species, fisheries or gear types. GEARNET is specifically focused on groundfish fisheries, and is just one project funded under the CRP's network initiative.

A core element of the theory of networks is that a network should grow over time, as more people actively participate and play a role in the research process. Therefore, we emphasize here that the list of participants currently identified for GEARNET is not set in stone, and we hope that the number of individuals who choose to become involved in GEARNET will only increase as the network gains momentum.

Many of GEARNET's participants fish or work in multiple fisheries, and may therefore also be involved in some of the other gear conservation engineering networks that have been funded under the same initiative, for example, REDNET, SQUIDNET and FAST. We welcome interested parties to contact us to learn how to become involved and what role they might play in the GEARNET network.

For more information on the theory of networks, please visit our 'links' page.

GEARNET’s mission is to help Northeast groundfish fishermen develop and adopt fishing equipment that:

  • Improves efficiency and selectivity,
  • Reduces environmental impact, and
  • Helps secure a sustainable, profitable groundfish resource and industry for future years.

To learn about getting involved, please contact us for more information, and to find out when a GEARNET meeting is scheduled with your sector.