2015 Northern Georges Bank Bycatch Survey


Carl Huntsberger dissecting a yellowtail flounder

Project Title: Optimizing the Georges Bank Scallop Fishery by Maximizing Meat Yield and Minimizing Bycatch

Year: 2015

Principle Investigators: Carl Huntsberger, Liese Siemann, Jasper Leavitt, & Rachel Simpson

Client: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program

CFF, in collaboration with VIMS, RWU, and SMAST, is undertaking the examination of temporal and spatial influences on bycatch of groundfish species, specifically yellowtail flounder, in the Atlantic sea scallop fishery on Georges Bank. The primary objective is to quantify yellowtail flounder bycatch rates in comparison to scallop meat yield, with the goal of optimizing the harvest of scallops while minimizing impacts to the yellowtail flounder stock. We aim to define this relationship on a finer spatial and temporal scale. The project also collects data on spawning, discard mortality, gear selectivity, and fish health.

Previously conducted CFF seasonal bycatch surveys of CAI, CAII and open area on George’s Bank occurred every six weeks from 2011 until May 2013. For more information on our previous Georges Bank  bycatch surveys visit the 2011, 2012, and 2013 project pages.

The 2015 bycatch survey is focused on seasonal changes to bycatch rates in the Sea Scallop industry on the northern section of Georges Bank.  The project will gather a large amount of biological data on the scallop catch as well as bycatch species. This survey fulfills the need to consistently monitor different regions of Georges Bank in order to gain a better understanding of seasonal variability in meat yield and bycatch rates to help inform future fisheries management decisions.

The map below shows the current stations for our 2015 bycatch survey.
2015 Bycatch Survey station 2
The map below displays our original survey locations overlayed with historic scallop catch data from NOAA and VIMS surveys coducted from 1983 to 2013. Using this historic data we adjusted our survey stations to the current locations shown in the previous map.
ScallopSurvey VS Stations
The following maps display the catch data from our recent bycatch survey that was conducted 8/5/15 – 8/11/15.
Scallops Catch
Lobster Catch
Winter Flounder
Fluke Catch
Trash Catch