The MarineFisheries Conservation Engineering Project works to reduce unwanted impacts of fishing gears and operations on species, individuals, and habitats, with the goals of improving the profitability of commercial fishing while supporting a healthy marine environment.
We study the behavior of fish in reaction to fishing gear as a foundation for developing and testing innovations to fishing gears and operations. Fishermen, netmakers, and other industry members work alongside us to develop and test ideas for gear improvement. We also lead and collaborate closely with local, regional, and international researchers, managers, and regulators. We work with a variety of gear types, including but not limited to: pots, otter trawls, longlines, gillnets, dredges, traps, and rod and reel. Our work takes us from the Gulf of Maine to Hudson Canyon, Massachusetts Bay to Buzzards Bay, and beyond.
To better understand fish and fishing gear, we use underwater cameras, acoustic net sensors, video analysis, and other advanced equipment to monitor what happens underwater. Advanced analytical techniques, databases, and graphics packages are used to illustrate our findings. We maintain a library of over 1,000 hours of raw and edited footage of fishing gear. Access to, and copies of, this video are available upon request. Please contact Mike Pol for requests.
We currently co-coordinate two large network projects funded by the National Marine Fisheries Service Cooperative Research Program: REDNET and GEARNET. REDNET is redeveloping a sustainable redfish (Sebastes fasciatus) trawl fishery in the Gulf of Maine. GEARNET’s mission is to help Northeast groundfish fishermen develop and adopt fishing equipment that improves efficiency and selectivity, reduces environmental impact, and helps secure a sustainable profitable groundfish resource for the future.
The MarineFisheries Conservation Engineering Project provides leadership and guidance to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), the International Council for Exploration of the Seas (ICES), as well as other organizations.
To see videos on tested commercial gear, please visit our Conservation Engineering Video page.
- HadFleet2: Continued Testing of the Five-Point Trawl Net Final Report
David Chosid, Michael Pol, and Mark Szymanski
- Further Testing of Cod-Avoiding Trawl Net Designs
David Chosid, Michael Pol, Mark Szymanski, Louis Ribas, and Thomas Moth-Poulsen
- Groundfish trawl nets designed to reduce the catch of Atlantic cod Gadus morhua
Michael Pol, H. Arnold Carr and Luis R. Ribas
- Developing a Low Impact Sea Scallop Dredge
Michael Pol and H. Arnold Carr
- Scup Bycatch Reduction in Loligo Squid Fishery
Michael Pol and H. Arnold Carr
- A Study of the Underwater Profiles of Lobster Trawl Ground Lines
Daniel McKiernan, Michael Pol and Vincent Malkoski
- Overview of Gear Developments and Trends in the New England Commercial Fishing Industry
Michael Pol and H. Arnold Carr. 2000. Northeastern Naturalist 7(4): 329-336
- Expanding the Use of the Sweepless Raised Footrope Trawl in Small-Mesh Whiting Fisheries
John Sheppard, Michael Pol and Daniel McKiernan
- Selectivity and Survival of Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua) [and Haddock (Melangrammus aeglefinus in the Northwest Atlantic Longline Fishery
Marianne Farrington, Arne Carr, Michael Pol, and Mark Szymanski