Current Research Projects

Current CFF Research Projects

Visit each project page to read a project summary.

2018: Improving oceanographic models of bottom temperature within the Mid-Atlantic Bight through novel data assimilation and stakeholder input (7/30/2018) - Project Title: 2018: Improving oceanographic models of bottom temperature within the Mid-Atlantic Bight through novel data assimilation and stakeholder input Year: 2018 Principle Investigators: Samir Patel and Jason Clermont Client: NOAA/NMFS Saltonstall-Kennedy Program The proposed project will improve oceanographic models used to forecast temperature within Mid-Atlantic waters and produce continuously updated temperature products for fishermen and managers. We will utilize a collaborative industry-science-management Working Group approach previously developed for the US Atlantic mackerel stock assessment. Specifically, CFF will incorporate several years of temperature data accrued from animal-borne sensors, autonomous ocean gliders, commercial fishing gear, and trawl surveys to improve numerical ...read more
2018: Using climate change scenarios to project loggerhead turtle distributions in the US Mid-Atlantic (7/30/2018) - Project Title: Using climate change scenarios to project loggerhead turtle distributions in the US Mid-Atlantic Year: 2018 Principle Investigator: Samir Patel Client: NOAA/NMFS Saltonstall-Kennedy Program As reptiles, the distribution of loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) is constrained, at least in part, by water temperatures. The temperate waters of the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) provide critical summer foraging habitat for a large cohort of juvenile and adult loggerhead turtles, which migrate into the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB) in the late spring and return to overwintering grounds south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in the fall. Currently, their summer distribution in the MAB is ...read more
2018: Exploring non-lethal techniques for sex determination and evaluation of maturity stage of Southern New England monkfish, Lophius americanus (7/30/2018) - Project Title: Exploring non-lethal techniques for sex determination and evaluation of maturity stage of Southern New England monkfish, Lophius americanus Year: 2018 Principle Investigators: Ricky Alexander, Amy Carlson, Luisa Garcia Client: NOAA/NMFS Monkfish Research Set-Aside This project will utilize endoscopy, ultrasonic examination, gross examination, histology, and hormone analysis to create a reproductive profile based on sex and maturational stage of monkfish (Lophius americanus) in Southern New England to improve biological sampling, and, thereby, management of this resource. Samples will be collected opportunistically over two years on commercial trips in the Northwest Atlantic where monkfish are abundant and commercially harvested. CFF will ...read more
2018 Nearshore habitat utilization by sea turtles within Massachusetts waters (7/30/2018) - Project Title: Nearshore habitat utilization by sea turtles within Massachusetts waters Year: 2018 Principle Investigator: Samir Patel Client: Massachusetts Environmental Trust The proposed project will employ a series of chemical tracer techniques using samples collected from dead and live stranded turtles to identify how, when and where turtles are utilizing local habitats prior to cold stunning and stranding in the water around Cape Cod, including Cape Cod Bay, Buzzards Bay, Vineyard Sound and Nantucket Sound. This region of Massachusetts’ waters presently supports a large number of hard-shelled sea turtle species, specifically Kemp’s ridleys, loggerheads and green turtles, the number of sea ...read more
2018 Gear: Quantifying the Selectivity Characteristics of an Extended Link Apron using a Dredge Cover Net (6/7/2018) - Project Title: Quantifying the Selectivity Characteristics of an Extended Link Apron using a Dredge Cover Net Year: 2018 Principle Investigators: Farrell Davis, Ricky Alexander, Liese Siemann Client: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program The proposed project would expand upon previous work with extended link aprons which has shown great potential in reducing fish bycatch. CFF will conduct four research trips to evaluate the selectivity characteristics of one-way vertical extended link apron using a dredge cover net. Two dredges, one equipped with a standard apron and another with an extended link apron, will be towed simultaneously. A cover net will ...read more
2018 Optimizing the Georges Bank Scallop Fishery by Maximizing Meat Yield and Minimizing Bycatch (6/7/2018) - Project Title: Optimizing the Georges Bank Scallop Fishery by Maximizing Meat Yield and Minimizing Bycatch Year: 2018 Principle Investigators: Luisa Garcia, Liese Siemann Client: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program This project will be a continuation of 10 years of surveys in this area by CFF. Fixed stations, chosen based on scallop, yellowtail flounder, and windowpane flounder abundances during previous Coonamessett Farm Foundation (CFF) projects, will be sampled inside Closed Area II (CAII) and adjacent regions to the south and west. Data collected will be used to quantify bycatch rates and scallop shell height-meat weight relationships. Biological measurements and reproductive ...read more
2018 Habcam: An Optical Assessment of Sea Scallop Abundance, Distribution and Growth in the Nantucket Lightship Scallop Management Area (6/7/2018) - Project Title: An Optical Assessment of Sea Scallop Abundance, Distribution and Growth in the Nantucket Lightship Scallop Management Area Year: 2018 Principle Investigators: Jason Clermont, John Ceccolini, Liese Siemann Client: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program We propose to use the Industry-based HabCam v3 towed instrument system to conduct an optical survey of the scallop resource in the Nantucket Lightship (NLS) scallop management area (Figure 1). This survey will build upon recent optical surveys of the large scallop recruitment event south of the Great South Channel. This proposed survey follows four previous surveys (2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017) conducted by ...read more
2018 Sea Turtle: Understanding the Impacts of the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery on Loggerhead Sea Turtles (6/7/2018) - Project Title: Understanding the Impacts of the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery on Loggerhead Sea Turtles Year: 2018 Principle Investigator: Samir Patel Client: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program The proposed research focuses on determining the ecology of the loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) that overlap with the sea scallop fisheries of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, specifically in the Mid-Atlantic Bight (MAB), Southern New England (SNE) and Georges Bank (GB) to help reduce harmful interactions. Our primary objectives are to examine sea turtle distributions, behavior and foraging habits; improve sea turtle bycatch estimates; identify factors impacting bycatch rates; and determine the ...read more
2017 A Modified Foot Sweep for Bycatch Reduction in the LA Sea Scallop Fishery (9/22/2017) - Project Title: 2017 A Modified Foot Sweep for Bycatch Reduction in the LA Sea Scallop Fishery Year: 2017 Principle Investigators: Ricky Alexander, Farrell Davis Client: NOAA/NMFS Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program The goal of this project is to test the effect on catch and bycatch of a modified flounder cookie sweep attached to the outer bale bars of a scallop dredge in the LA commercial sea scallop fleet. We will also film dredge operations to monitor fish avoidance behavior and the effectiveness of gear modification. Catch data will be recorded during 14 days at sea (DAS) aboard an LA vessel during commercial fishing ...read more
2017 Improving the Understanding of Sea Turtle Entanglement in Vertical Lines (9/22/2017) - Project Title: 2017 Improving the Understanding of Sea Turtle Entanglement in Vertical Lines Year: 2017 Principle Investigators: Samir Patel, Liese Siemann Client: NOAA/NMFS Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program The goal of this project is to investigate sea turtle entanglement in vertical lines of fishing gear within the nearshore waters adjacent to Cape Cod, MA. Our focal areas have a known seasonal high density of leatherback, loggerhead and Kemp’s ridley turtles overlapping with high densities of vertical lines associated with fixed gear fisheries. Between 2002 and 2014, 260 leatherbacks were reported entangled from Maine to Virginia, with 252 entangled in vertical lines. To identify the ...read more
2017 Testing Selectivity and Raised Webbing Gillnets on Target and Non-Target Species in the Northeast Haddock Fishery (9/22/2017) - 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 ...read more
2017 Developing a method for assessing blueline (Caulolatilus microps) and golden (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) tilefish stocks using a baited underwater video system (9/22/2017) - Project Title: 2017 Developing a method for assessing blueline (Caulolatilus microps) and golden (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) tilefish stocks using a baited underwater video system Year: 2017 Principle Investigators: Liese Siemann, Samir Patel, and Farrell Davis Client: NOAA/NMFS Saltonstall-Kennedy Program The goal of this project will develop innovative supplemental surveys (proof of concept) to derive fishery-independent indices of abundance for blueline (Caulolatilus microps) and golden (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) tilefish. Specifically, it will determine the feasibility of using pelagic baited remote underwater video (BRUV) systems to assess tilefish populations. Golden and blueline tilefish are important recreational and commercial fish species. Commercial landings in 2014 were ...read more
2017 Development and testing of an inexpensive GPS radio buoy system for early notification of whale entanglements (9/22/2017) - Project Title: Development and testing of an inexpensive GPS radio buoy system for early notification of whale entanglements Year: 2017 Principle Investigators: Liese Siemann, Samir Patel, Farrell Davis Client: Marine Mammal Commission This project will develop and test an inexpensive GPS radio buoy system, using open-source software and inexpensive components, to provide early notification of marine mammal entanglements in the vertical buoy lines of commercial fishing gear. CFF will develop a new technology to manage the impacts of commercial fisheries on marine mammals. By improving rapid response to entanglements, this solution could improve the frequency and success of disentanglement efforts. Automated ...read more