Current Research Projects

Current CFF Research Projects

Visit each project page to read a project summary.

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
2017 Understanding the Impacts of the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery on Loggerhead Sea Turtles (5/5/2017) - Project Title: Understanding the Impacts of the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery on Loggerhead Sea Turtles Year: 2017 Principle Investigators: Samir Patel Client: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program 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 role loggerheads play in impacting sea scallop health. The information collected will aid in evaluating loggerhead abundance estimates, developing scallop-harvesting strategies that minimize harm to sea turtles, and defining critical habitats for loggerheads. To build upon the success of prior Coonamessett Farm Foundation (CFF) turtle behavioral ...read more
2017 Development of an Extended Link Apron: A Broad Range Tool for Bycatch Reduction (5/5/2017) - Project Title: Development of an Extended Link Apron: A Broad Range Tool for Bycatch Reduction Year: 2017 Principle Investigators: Farrell Davis, Ricky Alexander and Liese Siemann Client: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program The goal of this project is to further develop a gear design utilizing two links to increase the inter-ring spacing in the dredge apron. The extended-link configuration encourages the mechanical sorting of pre-recruit scallops and flatfish. Previously, CFF tested a configuration that increased both the vertical and horizontal inter-ring space by orienting the extensions in both directions, creating a Bi-directional Extended Link Apron (BELA). While the ...read more
2017 Habcam – Year 4 (5/5/2017) - Project Title: An Optical Assessment of Sea Scallop / Predator Abundance and Distribution in the Nantucket Lightship Closed Area and Surrounds in Coordination with the VIMS Dredge Survey Year: 2017 Principle Investigators: Jason Clermont, John Ceccolini, Ronald Smolowitz, Liese Siemann Client: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program We propose to use the Habcam V3 towed instrument system to conduct the fourth year of optical survey of the large scallop recruitment event south of the Great South Channel. The primary purpose of this survey is to document distribution, survival, and growth of the large cohort of scallops spawned in late ...read more
2017 Improving a Low Profile Dredge Using Computational Fluid Dynamics and Flume Tank Testing (5/5/2017) - Project Title: Improving a Low Profile Dredge Using Computational Fluid Dynamics and Flume Tank Testing Year: 2017 Principle Investigators: Liese Siemann, Farrell Davis Client: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program Our main objective will be developing an improved low profile dredge design based on flume tank testing and computer simulation results. We plan to (1) simulate the performance of different dredge configurations using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models, (2) develop a modular scaled dredge to examine the impacts of changing the geometries of scallop dredges, and (3) test the scaled dredge in multiple configurations in a flume tank at scaled ...read more
2017 Northern Georges Bank Bycatch Survey (5/3/2017) -   Project Title: Optimizing the Georges Bank Scallop Fishery by Maximizing Meat Yield and Minimizing Bycatch Year: 2017 Principle Investigators: Luisa Garcia, Liese Siemann Client: NOAA/NMFS Atlantic Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program This project is a continuation of the current seasonal bycatch survey being conducted by CFF. The project will consist of eight 7-day survey trips aboard commercial scallop vessels occurring every even month from July 2017 through June 2018, as well as trips in September and January. Vessels will be equipped with two Coonamessett Farm Turtle Deflector Dredges (CFTDD), one with an experimental 5-row apron and a 1.5:1 twine ...read more