Conservation engineering of fishing equipment

Find out about the Conservation Engineering Project and how we improve fishing equipment. See links to reports on fishing gear research.

Current work

DMF aims to improve both the profitability of commercial fishing and health of the marine environment through the Conservation Engineering Project. DMF works with members of the fishing industry to improve fishing gear. We test ideas by using underwater cameras to study how fish react to gear. 

Here are examples of current projects we are working on:

Experimental Whiting Fishery: Where fish are found changes because of weather and climate. In one area in Ipswich Bay, we are testing an early opening of a small mesh whiting fishery to see if catches of whiting (silver hake) can be caught without catching a lot of other types of fish.

Off Bottom Trawl: Fish nets disturb the sea floor, and it makes sense to reduce disturbance where possible. We are going to try to catch haddock and redfish on Georges Bank with a trawl net that is completely off-bottom, doors included. We will compare catches to a Ruhle trawl.

Final reports

We recently completed three projects:

REDNET: We are redeveloping a sustainable redfish (Sebastes fasciatus) trawl fishery in the Gulf of Maine. You can read the final report here.

GEARNET: This project develops fishing equipment for local fishermen. This equipment improves efficiency and selectivity and reduces environmental impact. Our mission it to help secure a sustainable profitable groundfish resource for the future. You can read the final report here.

ScanPot: This project investigated the use of side scan sonar to detect derelict (abandoned) fishing gear. You can read the final report here.

More conservation engineering final reports can be downloaded using the links below.

Contact for Conservation engineering of fishing equipment


DMF Staff Directory View 


(508) 990-0449


836 S Rodney French Blvd, New Bedford, MA 02744

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