2017 Testing Selectivity and Raised Webbing Gillnets on Target and Non-Target Species in the Northeast Haddock Fishery

Project Title: 2017 Testing Selectivity and Raised Webbing Gillnets on Target and Non-Target Species in the Northeast Haddock Fishery

Year: 2017

Principle Investigators: Jason Clermont, Ricky Alexander, Samir Patel

Client: NOAA/NMFS Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program

The goal of this project is to evaluate alternative gillnet gear characteristics designed to (1) improve access to abundant year classes of Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank haddock, and (2) simultaneously reduce bycatch by testing the effect of raised webbing and size selectivity of gillnets at mesh sizes of 6.0 and 6.5 inches on target and non-target species to determine if 6.0 inches is a more appropriate mesh size to target the expected large abundance of 18-24 inch length haddock in northwest Atlantic waters. Simultaneously, we will test the effect of raised webbing on target and non-target catches in both mesh sizes. The information gathered during the course of this proposed study has the potential to increase both the efficiency and environmental performance of gillnet gear and provide valuable data to both resource managers and fishermen. With the addition of video and temperature-depth data, we also expect to gain insight on direct and indirect mortality of all target and non-target species, as well a better depiction of other factors that influence gillnet selectivity and efficiency.