February 1, 2017 — Researchers at UMass-Dartmouth continue to refine a new video survey system they believe holds promise for providing more accurate assessments of the beleaguered Gulf of Maine cod stock.
The developers of the system, which employs high-resolution video cameras in an open-ended commercial trawl net to count the number of fish and identify their species as they enter the net, put it through another rigorous test last week and came away pleased with the results.
“This was definitely the best trip yet,” said Travis Lowery, chief scientist and technician on the project along with UMass-Dartmouth professor Kevin Stokesbury and graduate student Nick Calabrese. “We’ve been moving more toward using Go-Pro cameras and the images were crystal clear. It all worked really, really well.”
For six days, the researchers performed 31 survey tows on Stellwagen Bank, about 15 miles southeast of Gloucester, and said they found Atlantic cod aggregating over much of the open fishing grounds.
The test also included a number of closed tows so researchers could collect biological samples to measure the length and weight of the captured fish. In the biggest closed-trawl haul, researchers collected 345 cod in a half-hour, with the largest measuring up to about 33 inches.