Project Title: Relative Efficiency of a Coonamessett Farm Turtle Excluder Dredge Equipped with Escape Windows
Client: NOAA/NMFS Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside
Throughout the duration of this project, March 2014 through May 2015, Coonamessett Farm Foundation, Inc. tested the efficacy of using escape windows to reduce flatfish bycatch. Four designated research trips aboard Limited Access vessels and 24 days of testing took place aboard a Limited Access General Category vessel during the research period. Five different seam window configurations were tested but were not pursued further beyond the first research trip due to an observed reduction in scallop catch utilizing these configurations. A rigid escape window configuration was tested for a limited number of tows during the second trip. This configuration was abandoned when the headbale crushed the frames. The final configuration, CFFTDD14, utilized chain to maintain the shape of the window and bag and was tested during the remaining two research trips. Unfortunately, escape windows configured in the manner tested during this project are not a viable means of reducing bycatch within the scalloping industry due to an excessive loss in scallop catch.