New England groundfishermen are in trouble. The annual catch limits are now set so low that many boats remain tied to the dock. But controversy abounds. The fishing industry has expressed no confidence in the NOAA trawl survey that provides the raw data for the stock assessment. But counting fish in the ocean is no easy task. While everyone agrees that more and better data is needed NOAA Fisheries says its resources are already overtaxed.
UMass Dartmouth marine scientist Kevin Stokesbury believes he may have found a solution- using cameras to record fish passing through a net that is intentionally left open, allowing them to escape unharmed. The video is then taken ashore and analyzed to obtain an estimate of stock abundance for a variety of species. CSF program director Don Cuddy documented this new technology in action and the results can be seen in this this splendid documentary
For an unvarnished look into the world of commercial fishing and cutting-edge marine research, join the crew of the F/V Justice of New Bedford for this May 2015 research trip to the famed fishing ground of Georges Bank.