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Maine - New Hampshire Inshore Trawl Survey General Information

Sally and Keri measuring fishThe Inshore Groundfish Trawl Survey is a fisheries independent assessment of living resources inside the coastal waters of Maine and New Hampshire. Its purpose is to fill a significant information gap that hampers efficient management of Maine’s fishing industry. In fact, until this survey, Maine and New Hampshire were the only states on the east coast not conducting a near shore assessment. Quotas, closures, and other management measures are based on assessments done outside Maine waters where fishing pressure and conditions are entirely different. As a result, Maine’s and New Hampshire’s resources are being managed without benefit of adequate information. While the funding comes from money Congress set aside to provide some economic relief to the groundfish industry, the assessment is more than a groundfish survey. Lobsters, recreational finfish species, and non-commercial species of ecological interest are also assessed. This is truly a multispecies survey that should benefit all decision makers confronted with issues such as fish stock recovery, fishery management measures, Essential Fish Habitat designations, climate change, Marine Protected Areas and more.

map of survey regions and strataThe coast has been broken into 5 areas based on geologic, oceanographic, geographic and biologic factors and in addition, each area has been divided into four depth layers; 5-20, 21-35, 36-55, and 55+ fathoms. Stations are located randomly to reflect representative conditions within each of the strata. We attempt to complete 115 tows during each survey.

Gear consists of a modified shrimp net with a 2 inch mesh in wings and ½ inch mesh liner in the cod end. Foot rope and head ropes are 57' and 70' respectively, with 6 inch rubber cookies. The gear was designed to be very light on the bottom to minimize habitat disruption. Video work conducted in February and August 2002 has confirmed that this is so.

The F/V Robert Michael, a Northeast 54’ from Portland, ME is used as the platform vessel for this survey.

More detailed information on the survey design, gear, vessel, and operating protocols can be found in our Procedures and Protocols Manual - pdf file, 3.4MB.