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In recent years the Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod stock status is poor. This has led to significant cuts in fishermen's catch limits. However, fishermen believe that the cod status is better than currently assessed. Given these factors, the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) started a new Industry-Based Survey for GOM cod (Cod IBS). DMF is administering a 3 year study in the southwestern part of the GOM where the majority of cod reside. DMF relies on input from fishermen, the Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Institute, NOAA Fisheries, and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) in the design of the study.
The Cod IBS will:
The area to be surveyed includes Massachusetts and New Hampshire state waters and federal waters that extend from Cape Elizabeth, south to Cape Cod Bay. In waters between latitude 43°0’ and 43°30’ the survey extends as far east as longitude 69°30’. In waters south of latitude 43°0’ the survey extends to the eastern boundary of the Western Gulf of Maine closure (69°55’).
DMF completed the first year of the Cod IBS in January 2017. The second year of surveys will continue April to July 2017 and October 2017 to January 2018. About 10 sampling days occur each survey month, making 30-minute tows and averaging five tows per day.
DMF will post project updates on this webpage with links. There will also be announcements and information available through written notices, emails, text alerts, social media accounts, and VHF radio on Channel 16.
DMF first launched this collaborative research survey in 2003. One and a half million dollars was provided by NOAA Fisheries for this survey work involving 10-day survey cruises using four commercial vessels fishing standardized bottom trawls. An important part of the survey design was the selection of some stations by fishermen and their involvement in determining sampling strata (distinct areas with set numbers of stations). The objective of this survey was to collect data that would improve our knowledge of fish populations and helping inform fishery management decisions.