Principal Investigators: William Hoffman and Micah Dean
Project coordinator: Nicholas Buchan

About the Survey

Given the poor stock of Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod, low catch limits, and many fishermen’s claims that the cod status is better than currently assessed; MarineFisheries is implementing a new GOM Cod Industry-Based Survey (cod IBS). Relying on fishermen’s guidance with additional input from the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute (MFI), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), MarineFisheries has begun to administer a three-year study in the southwestern portion of the GOM where remnants of the GOM cod stock currently reside.

The cod IBS will:

•  Provide another science source (resource data and information) for use in assessments
•  Test fishermen’s hypothesis about GOM cod redistributing offshore in response to warming water
•  Demonstrate relevance and importance of a GOM cod IBS for improving our understanding of the distribution of cod at    times and in areas when the NEFSC surveys are not performed
•  Acquire additional scientific data on other groundfish stocks in the survey area
•  Enable minimum estimates of swept-area biomass
•  Determine the cod IBS’s potential for providing indices of abundance

The survey follows a stratified-random design with stations occurring from 10 fathoms to 160 fathoms, including waters west of 69° 30’ within the GOM cod stock boundary. The first survey cruises were completed April 1 - July 31, 2016, and will begin again October 1, 2016, and continue monthly through January 31, 2017. Approximately ten days of sampling will occur in each survey month, making 30-minute tows and, depending on weather and sea conditions, average five tows per day.

cod IBS survey area
This image shows the area that will be surveyed during the 2016-2017 Cod IBS. The entire area will be surveyed monthly during April, May, June, July, October, November, December, and January. The first survey cruise started in April 2016 and the cod IBS will be completed at the end of January 2017.

Click here for a complete list of survey tow locations.

Updates to this project will be posted on this webpage with links. Additionally, announcements and information will be made available through written notices, email listserv, text message alerts, social media accounts, and via VHF radio on Channel 16.


For more information on the previous GOM cod IBS, please see our page:  Industry Based Survey for Gulf of Maine Cod (2003-2007).