Project Title: Southern New England Juvenile Fish Habitat Research
Principle Investigators: Liese Siemann
The goal of this project is to provide BOEM with fish catch data and benthic habitat data where dredge survey locations overlap with BOEM lease areas in southern New England waters. Combined catch numbers and relative abundance data from CFF winter dredge surveys and NEFSC spring and fall bottom trawl surveys will be used to determine if winter flounder, windowpane flounder, yellowtail flounder, and monkfish presence might change seasonally. In addition, habitat / substrate preferences of fish species during the months of December through March will be examined based on video surveys the bottom type (sand, gravel, or rocks) and amount of shell hash and sand dollars (high, low, or absent) identified through video data collected at the dredge survey locations. Finally, size frequency and reproductive stage data for winter flounder taken during the surveys will be analyzed. This project will provide:
1) Summary plots and maps of winter flounder, windowpane flounder, yellowtail flounder and monkfish presence, catch numbers, and catch per unit area for the winter CFF survey and the spring and fall NEFSC surveys.
2) A map of habitat types at CFF survey stations, Habitat types will be determined using video data and verified using data from dredge surveys at the same stations.
3) Analysis of habitat preference of winter flounder, windowpane flounder, and monkfish at each survey station.
4) Maps of winter flounder reproductive stage at each station from December through March.