GEARNET projects

By February 28th, 2011, a total of 22 different research proposals had been submitted to GEARNET from twelve groundfish sectors and members of the Common Pool.

These proposals were reviewed by the GEARNET Technical Committee and 17 pilot-scale projects are being funded starting in the spring of 2011. The projects address a variety of factors, including, but not limited to:

  • Effects of mesh size on size and species selectivity;
  • Effects of changes in net design to species composition;
  • Effects of fine-twine mesh on fuel consumption and species selectivity;
  • Improving profitability in groundfish fisheries;
  • Feasibility of a trap fishery for groundfish species.

A number of GEARNET pilot-scale projects hit the water during the Spring/Summer of 2011. Other projects are scheduled to begin fieldwork in the Fall of 2011 and/or the Spring of 2012. The list of GEARNET projects will grow with time, once accepted proposals have been refined and approved.

GEARNET projects funded: Fieldwork complete
Groundfish net modified into a topless flounder net

Sector: Common Pool

Lead industry participant:
Carl Bouchard (F/V Stormy Weather)

Lead GEARNET Scientist:
Shelly Tallack (GMRI)

Primary objective(s): Develop a net that enables fishermen to catch their flounder allocation while avoiding cod and haddock.

Additional participants: Paul Kuncho, Peter Kendall (F/V Stormy Weather); Willy Goldsmith, Adam Baukus, Kristina Thorpe (GMRI); Mary O'Rourke (Trawlworks); and David Beutel (RI CRMC).

Status: Fieldwork took place in May/June 2011, analysis is currently underway.

Vertical profile and reduced mesh depth as a method to improve gillnet selectivity and operational efficiency

Sector: NEFS 11

Lead industry participant:
Capt. Jayson Driscoll (F/V Karen Lyn)

Lead GEARNET Scientist:
Ken La Valley (NH SeaGrant)

Primary objective(s): Evaluate catch composition and selectivity in gillnets set at different heights from the sea floor; identify a configuration that enables fishermen to target pollock while avoiding other groundfish species.

Additional participants: Capt. Mark Gauron (F/V Captain Al); and Capt. Tom Lyons (F/V Marion J).

Status: Fieldwork took place in September 2011; analysis is currently underway.

Use of codend mesh size, fuel sensors and catch sensors to increase fishing efficiency

Sector: NEFS 12

Lead industry participant:
Capt. David Goethel (F/V Ellen Diane)

Lead GEARNET Scientist:
Erik Chapman (NH SeaGrant)

Primary objective(s): Increase fishing efficiency by maximizing the catch revenue from cod, while simultaneously minimizing fuel consumption and reducing bycatch of non-cod species.

Additional participants: Capt. Norman Pike (F/V Sandi Lynn); Josh Wiersma (Sector Manager); and Willy Goldsmith (GMRI).

Status: Fieldwork took place in August 2011, analysis is currently underway.

The self-closing codend

Gear-maker Jon Knight (left), and fisherman Capt. Dan Murphy (right) inspect the self-closing codend.

Watch movie of the self-closing codend:
Courtesy of David Chosid, MA DMF.

Sector: N/A. This project was funded through a separate NOAA contract, but is highly relevant to the GEARNET network and other projects, and as such, has been included here.

Lead industry participant:
Capt. Daniel Murphy (F/V Bantry Bay, Gloucester, MA), NEFS 2

Lead GEARNET Scientist:
David Chosid / Mike Pol (MA DMF)

Primary objective(s): Prevent large catches of unwanted fish by developing an underwater, self-closing codend that activates when the desired fish volume has been captured.

Additional participants: Jon Knight (Superior Trawl, RI), Mark Szymanski (MA DMF), Pingguo He (SMAST), Christopher Rillahan (SMAST), and Shannon Bayse (SMAST).

Status: Fieldwork took place in June-July, 2011. The main field research has been completed and follow-up research and analyses are currently underway.


GEARNET projects funded: Underway
A feasibility study to assess the performance of alternative pinger devices as seal deterrents in groundfish gillnet gear

Sector: Georges Bank Fixed Gear Sector

Lead industry participant:
Capt. John Our (F/V Miss Fitz)

Lead GEARNET Scientist:
Shelly Tallack (GMRI)

Primary objective(s): Quantify and reduce the quantity of groundfish predated on by seals in sink gillnet gear around Cape Cod; test available acoustic technology for deterring seals.

Additional participants: Capt. Bob St. Pierre (F/V Rug Rats); Capt. Bob Eldridge (F/V Unicorn); Capt. Matt Linnell (F/V Lori B); Capt. John Tuttle (F/V Cuda); and Eric Brazer (Sector Manager).

Status: Fieldwork is scheduled for November 2011.

Testing of a new Reidar's haddock trawl on Georges Bank

Sector: NEFS 7

Lead industry participant:
Capt. Antonio Borges (F/V Sao Paulo)

Lead GEARNET Scientist:
Pingguo He (SMAST)

Additional participants: Tor Bendiksen (Reidar's Manufacturing, Inc.); and Sally Roman (SMAST)

Primary objective(s): Evaluate an easy-to-operate two-seam large mesh front-end trawl, which reduces flounder catch while maintaining haddock catch for the Georges Bank haddock fishery.

Status: Fieldwork is scheduled for Spring 2012.

Technology transfer: Seven-inch square knotless codends

Sector: NEFS 10

Lead industry participant:
Frank & Andrew Mirarchi

Lead GEARNET Scientist:
Mike Pol (MA DMF)

Additional participants: Andy Mannix, Bill Amaru; Steve Welch; Chris King; Ron Borgeson; Peter Krzyzewski; John Shea; Ron Gustafson; Jeff Good and six others

Primary objective(s): Provide sector members with high-quality knotless seven-inch webbing for codends to (A) allow fishermen to construct composite mesh or other alterations if desired, (B) find the best codend arrangement for their specific species allocations, and (C) the use of these codends may assist with the marketing of the sector's fish.

Status: The codends will be purchased and distributed during the Winter/Spring 2012.


GEARNET projects funded: Planned for future months
Utilization of electric rod and reel to target pollock in the Western Gulf of Maine

Sector: NEFS 3

Lead industry participant:
Capt. Bill Muniz (F/V Kathryn Leigh)

Lead GEARNET Scientist:
Pingguo He (SMAST)

Primary objective(s): Promote sustainable and clean fishing that also provides an improved return on investment for fishermen.

Additional participants: Capt. Richard Burgess

Status: Fieldwork is scheduled for Fall 2011.

Evaluation of small diameter Dyneema twine in groundfish trawls to reduce drag and fuel consumption

Sector: NEFS 8

Lead industry participant:
Capt. Carlos Camarao (F/V Virginia Sand)

Lead GEARNET Scientist:
Pingguo He (SMAST)

Additional participants: Capt. Tony Cravo (F/V United States); and Sally Roman (SMAST)

Primary objective(s): Evaluate the reduction of fuel consumption resulting from replacing the top panel of a commercial groundfish trawl with Dyneema netting.

Status: Fieldwork is scheduled for Fall 2011 or Spring 2012.

Improving profitability under sector management: improving fuel efficiency and evaluating a haddock separator trawl through underwater video observations

Sector: NEFS 9

Lead industry participant:
Tyler Fisheries LLC (F/V Triunfo)

Lead GEARNET Scientist:
Pingguo He (SMAST)

Additional participants: Stephanie Rafael (Sector Manager)

Primary objective(s): Modify groundfish net with Dyneema knotless netting and evaluate net for fuel efficiency, selectivity and spread; also demonstrate the use of a haddock separator trawl using an underwater video system.

Status: Fieldwork is scheduled for Spring/Summer 2012.