University scientists receive $1m grant for fisheries research
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth received three grants to study scallop biomass estimates, bycatch reduction, and scallop biology.
The university’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST) has been awarded $1,049,044 through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC).
Dr. Kevin Stokesbury will lead survey research using SMAST’s drop-camera array. High resolution surveys as well as a broad-scale survey will be completed along the Mid-Atlantic Bight — which stretches down the east coast — and Georges Bank, a submerged plateau east of Cape Cod, according to university officials.
Dr. Daniel Georgiana will lead SMAST in an attempt to delineate the southern range of sea scallop gray-meat occurrences and assess the growth, meat weights, and reproductive potential of animals found with gray meat in scallop populations. This research will complement ongoing lab-based research funded last year, university officials said.
SMAST, in collaboration with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, will develop a predictive model for scallop recruitment to improve the understanding of spawning and recruitment dynamics. Results could assist managers making management decisions, university officials said. Dr. Changsheng Chen is the principal investigator for the project.
Dr. Steven Cadrin and his team of researchers will explore how environmental, management, and behavioral factors influence sea scallop landings-per-unit-effort (LPUE) in an attempt to improve the accuracy of LPUE estimates. These estimates are used to help set overall fishery allocations, as well as the number of fishing days allocated for the Limited Access scallop fishery, said university officials.
Additionally, SMAST researchers will study the swimming capabilities and behaviors of yellowtail and windowpane flounders in a new seawater tank facility. The research team will evaluate various aspects of swimming physiology, including speed and endurance, in an attempt to inform potential by-catch mitigation strategies and conservation engineering designs, officials said.