Contacts: Mike Pol, Mark Szymanski, Dave Chosid
Viewing live feed
Captain Pedro Cura (L), Dr. He (M), and Division of Marine Fisheries biologist Mark Szymanski view and interpret live video of fish swimming in reaction to Captain Cura’s trawl net captured with the Conservation Engineering camera system on Georges Bank.

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.

Newfoundland Net Testing
Captain Dan Murphy, netmaker Jon Knight, and Division of Marine Fisheries biologist David Chosid test a self-closing codend at Memorial University’s Marine Institute flume tank in St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada.

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.

Final Reports