Fisheries Resources: Commercial Fisheries (2002-2013)

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Project Type: 
Extension
Project Number: 
A/P-10
Theme Area: 
Commercial Fisheries

Participants:

Roland Barnaby (Retired 2008) UNH - Cooperative Extension Extension Educator for Water Quality
Pingguo He University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth Extension Specialist for Commercial Fisheries
Ken La Valley UNH - Cooperative Extension Assistant Director for Extension
Erik Chapman N.H. Sea Grant Fisheries Program Coordinator
Gabriela Bradt N.H. Sea Grant Extension Specialist for Commercial Fisheries
Brian Doyle (Deceased 12/2008) N.H. Sea Grant Associate Director
Situation: 

In 2003, the Northeast had landings of 664 million pounds of fish, worth nearly $91 million. The single most economically important species for the region continues to be the American lobster, with landings of 70.5 million pounds valued at $278 million. Sea scallops, at $116 million, ranked second in value, followed by mixed groundfish and flounder at $97 million. The commercial fishing industry in New Hampshire is composed of nearly 140 commercial vessels, consisting of 100 lobster and 40 groundfish boats. In 2003, New Hampshire had landings of 27.4 million pounds of fish, worth just over $15 million. The single most economically important species for New Hampshire continues to be the American lobster, with landings of 2 million pounds valued at $9 million. Atlantic cod, at $1.8 million, ranked second in value, followed by Atlantic herring, $1.2 million, and goosefish at just over $1 million. With the exception of one large company targeting offshore lobster, most New Hampshire fishermen represent small, family-owned operations that fish inshore.

By-catch and regulatory discards continue to be a significant challenge facing the industry. These issues have been addressed through regulations and conservation engineering. Conservation engineering, or the science of designing innovative fishing gear to reduce by-catch and improve species selectivity, has raised hope for sustainable fishing practices by developing gear that has separated cod from the multi-species groundfishery, and significantly reduced by-catch in the northern shrimp fishery. Commercial fishing in the Gulf of Maine continues to face the complicated challenge of mitigating interactions between gear and threatened/endangered species, particularly marine mammals.

In addition to overfishing, commercial fisheries are under a “microscope” that has focused on understanding the impact of mobile and fixed gear on the benthic ecosystem. Scientists do not have a clear or thorough understanding of the short or long-term impacts of fishing on benthic communities. Over the coming years it will continue to be important for fisheries scientists and industry to work collaboratively to evaluate these impacts and develop strategies that will promote a healthy and economically viable fishery.

New Hampshire fishermen have been significantly impacted by the further limitation of access to the resource through daily trip limits, closed areas, days-at-sea restrictions and seasonal quotas. Many of these regulations have impacted smaller fishermen the hardest. A key element to an ecosystem management approach will be the understanding of the social impact that fishing regulations have had or could have on coastal communities under current and alternative management approaches.

Goals: 
  1. Develop new management strategies that utilize an ecosystem approach to stewardship of the fisheries resource.
 
  1. Develop strategies and technologies that will lead to the reduction of bycatch, discard and unaccounted fishing mortalities.
 
  1. Develop strategies that will quantify and reduce sea-bed impacts by commercial and recreational fisheries.
 
  1. Provide science-based information on essential fish habitat (EFH), marine protected areas (MPAs) and other closed areas that allows regulators to implement policies that balance the harvesting of living marine resources with environmental protection.
 
  1. Develop and improve culture system technology for cold-water marine species.
 
  1. Ensure that commercial aquaculture and marine stock enhancement are economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.
Objectives: 

Selected Objectives for 2008-2011

Objective 1: To have up to 10 commercial fishermen per year adopt new fishing conservation gear, as it becomes available, that will reduce bycatch of small/non-targeted species and eliminate/reduce regulatory discards.

Activities:

  • Annual presentations at selected Fishermen’s Forums (i.e., Maine, Boston) will be made to disseminate results of conservation gear work
  • Local and regional workshops will be organized and conducted to provide stakeholders an opportunity to discuss gear designs with PIs (i.e., research and industry partners)
  • Conduct at-sea demonstrations of newly developed conservation fishing gear
  • Suitable extension and trade publications will be developed to explain new design principles

Objective 2: As it becomes available, up to 10 fishermen per year will choose newly developed soft-bottom (reduced impact) fishing gear or strategies over traditional equipment.

Activities:

  • Annual presentations at selected Fishermen’s Forums (i.e. Maine, Boston) will be made to disseminate results of soft-bottom gear work
  • Local and regional workshops will be organized and conducted to provide stakeholders an opportunity to discuss reduced impact gear designs with PIs (i.e. research and industry partners)
  • Conduct at-sea demonstrations of newly developed reduced impact fishing gear
  • Publish suitable extension and trade documents to explain new design principles and their operations

Objective 3: At least 40 fishermen per year will participate in cooperative research proposals submitted to appropriate programs and receive $2 million annually in competitive funding.

Activities:

  • Take part in and conduct at least four educational programs per year on collaborative/cooperative research opportunities targeting commercial fishermen and marine researchers
  • Coordinate outreach activities in Maine and Massachusetts through other organizations such as the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute
  • Develop educational materials that highlight the results and benefits of collaborative research including pamphlets, displays, fact sheets, videos, etc.
  • Participate at the Boston Fish Expo and the Maine Fishermen’s Forum annually providing information on collaborative research opportunities to at least 500 attendees per event
  • Meet with at least 30 fisheries stakeholders per year to develop research ideas
  • Act as a “matchmaker” identifying potential partners between commercial fishermen and researchers
  • Provide results of cooperative research projects to NMFS and the New England Fisheries Management Council for their consideration in developing fisheries' management plans and amendments

Objective 4: Have NH commercial fishermen participate in the design and implementation of an innovative fisheries management program based on “Area Management” or “Community-based Management.”

Activities:

  • Partner with the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA) investigating alternative fisheries management regimes
  • Conduct workshops on alternative fisheries management regimes
  • Facilitate fisheries stakeholder meetings on fisheries management

Objective 5: To have fisheries managers and regulators utilize scientific information presented at Sea Grant organized symposia to determine new or revised fisheries management plans or regulations.

Activities:

  • Provide at least one venue per year for fishermen, scientists, State and Federal fisheries managers, and conservation organizations to formally discuss science based information focused on a current fisheries issue
  • Partner with regional fishermen, scientists, conservation organizations, cooperative research funding groups, and fisheries managers to organize and implement a symposium related to an immediate fisheries issue/concern
  • Provide a symposium proceedings or technical summary document to NMFS and the New England Fisheries Management Council for their consideration in developing fisheries’ management plans and amendments

Goals for 2004-2007

  1. Develop technologies and techniques that will lead to reduced by-catch and regulatory discard of commercially important Gulf of Maine fish species.
  2. Improve fisheries science and provide ancillary employment for fishermen by encouraging and facilitating cooperative research between fishermen and scientists.
  3. Reduce the incidental take of marine mammals during fishing operations in a way that has minimal economic impact on the commercial fishing industry.
  4. Provide scientifically based information on essential fish habitat (EFH) and marine protected areas (MPA) that allows regulators to implement policies that balance the harvesting of living marine resources with environmental protection.

Objective 1: To have at least 20 commercial fishermen per year formally engaged in collaborative research with researchers, fishery managers and other stakeholders through successful competition in grant opportunities funding such research (e.g., NEC, NMFS).

Background: NH Sea Grant is one of four partners in the Northeast Consortium. The Consortium was created to encourage and fund effective, co-equal partnerships among commercial fishermen, researchers and other stakeholders. As part of this effort, commercial fishing vessels are equipped and utilized as research platforms. In the past three years, the Consortium has funded more than $9 million of cooperative research with the fishing industry receiving more than $6 million. Rollie Barnaby, Extension Educator, is the outreach coordinator for the Northeast Consortium.

Objective 2: To have 150 commercial fishermen, 30 fisheries’ managers, five fishing organizations, and six conservation organizations participate in a facilitated collaborative problem solving process and subsequently make decisions that lead to improved fisheries management.

Background: Increasingly, Sea Grant Extension is being recognized and used to facilitate multi-stakeholder collaborative problem solving processes. NH Sea Grant has been promoting collaborative problem solving in marine issues for many years. Rollie Barnaby conducted workshops funded by an SK grant on Collaborative Decision Making in 1997. He presently has a Sea Grant-funded project that pays for professional facilitators to facilitate contentious fisheries issues. NMFS and the New England Fisheries Management Council are both using facilitators more frequently to conduct their business. NMFS has used a facilitated process to develop management plans for marine mammals, and the Council recently hired a professional facilitator to conduct meetings to develop marine habitat research priorities. Fishermen and conservation organizations are also starting to use facilitators. Barnaby’s grant recently paid for a facilitator for a process initiated by the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership.

Objective 3: To have members of the NH Marine Coalition meet on a regular basis and provide meaningful recommendations on local, regional and national fisheries issues including alternative fisheries management options to the state and federal fisheries management agencies and councils.

Background: Through the efforts of Rollie Barnaby, a new organization, the NH Marine Coalition, has been formed. The purpose of this multi-stakeholder group is the conservation, enhancement and sustainable use of the marine resources in the western Gulf of Maine. The organization is open to all individuals and institutions that subscribe to its purpose and principles. Members include inshore and offshore lobster fishermen, gillnetters, draggermen, recreational fishermen, charter boat operators, conservationists and educators. In the first year the group has developed its purpose, principles and by-laws. It is affiliated with Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA), whose purpose and principles are very similar.

Objective 4: To have at least 15 commercial fishermen per year adopt new fishing conservation gear that will reduce bycatch of small/non-targeted species and eliminate/reduce regulatory discards.

Background: Understanding fishing gear selectivity and designing fishing gear to reduce bycatch and discards has been the primary focus of Pingguo He’s work since he joined NHSG in 2001. Most of the applied research related to this work is being funded by the Northeast Consortium and the NMFS.

Objective 5: To reduce fishing-related alterations on the Gulf of Maine seabed by having 20 fishermen/year adopt new types of fishing gear.

Background: Effects of fishing on the seabed and the environment has become a debated subject in recent decades. While alteration to the seabed has been recognized by all parties, the effect of alteration on the resource and recovery of the altered areas are not well understood. Our focus will be to reduce fishing-related alterations by designing gear that is less intrusive to the seabed.

Objective 6: To have 50 fishermen/year utilize new knowledge gained regarding fishing gear, operation, responsible fisheries and conservation engineering in their fishing practices.

Accomplishments: 
2013

N.H. Fresh and Local Seafood direct marketing campaign links fishermen with consumers

The 2013 N.H. Fresh and Local Seafood direct marketing campaign increased awareness of and demand for local seafood, and it opened up alternative revenue streams for local fishermen.

RELEVANCE: The New Hampshire fishing industry has experienced some serious hardships due to cuts in the groundfish fishery and the recent glut of lobsters flooding the market. These financial hardships have led to a reduction of the fishing fleet and threaten the existence of N.H. fisheries.

RESPONSE: N.H. Sea Grant intensified its seafood direct marketing efforts through the launch of the N.H. Fresh and Local Seafood direct marketing campaign for the 2013 fishing year. The campaign sought to bring awareness to seafood consumers and increased revenue to local fishermen. Under the umbrella of the campaign, NHSG worked with local restaurants, breweries, fishermen and farmers markets to educate consumers on the availability of locally harvested seafood and local underutilized species. Through seafood dinners and a presence at local events and farmers markets, as well as through social media and video, NHSG was able to build up momentum and enthusiasm and reached nearly 5,000 N.H. consumers. The 2013 effort also added two lobstermen, two restaurants, one oyster farmer and one community supported fishery to the N.H. Fresh and Local Seafood initiative.

RESULTS: Campaign efforts resulted in the formation of new relationships between fishermen, chefs, dealers and others in the industry, which led to increased revenues through alternative markets. In addition, social media traffic increased and participation in NHSG-sponsored events doubled, indicating a growing consumer interest and awareness in sourcing locally harvested seafood.

N.H. commercial fishermen form community supported fishery
N.H. Sea Grant-supported fishing community forms an innovative CSF that provided healthy, locally harvested seafood to over 5,000 consumers while providing $2,000 in additional revenue to fishermen.

RELEVANCE: New Hampshire fishermen are challenged by dynamic and unpredictable markets and management that requires strategies that maximize the value of harvestable stocks and increase local awareness of the seafood industry. This, combined with an increasing interest among consumers for local, sustainably harvested and fresh seafood, creates opportunities for the state’s commercial fishermen.

RESPONSE: In 2013, N.H. Sea Grant helped fishermen and community representatives form an innovative community supported fishery (CSF) characterized by cooperative ownership by 14 fishermen members with some input from consumer members. The CSF was established and developed with the help of legal, marketing and business expertise facilitated by Sea Grant personnel.

RESULTS: Formed in the spring of 2013, the CSF completed three seasons of delivering weekly shares to 250 consumer members. In addition, the CSF sold local seafood at winter farmers markets. The CSF sold 8,000 pounds of locally harvested seafood at 25 cents over the auction price (for $2,000 additional revenue to boats). Extensive outreach efforts provided outreach and educational information on the catch and fishing practices to shareholders and winter farmers market attendees (over 5,000 consumers).

N.H. Sea Grant works to provide LED pingers to reduce harbor porpoise captures in northeast gillnet fishery
In 2013, a N.H. Sea Grant-supported project subsidized the purchase of innovative LED pingers by over 60 fishermen in the Northeast gillnet fishery to help them reduce their harbor porpoise captures.

RELEVANCE: The gillnet fishery in New England is required to deploy acoustic pingers to avoid unnecessary mortality and injury of harbor porpoise. These devices are attached to fishing nets and alert porpoises to the presence of the nets. In the spring of 2013, gillnetters experienced a two-month “consequence closure” that was triggered as a result of the fishery exceeding the five year running average for captures, or takes, of harbor porpoise in 2011. Supporting data indicated low compliance with pinger requirements as the likely cause, in part due to difficulties fishermen have in detecting failed pingers during generally loud fishing operations.

RESPONSE: Recently, a pinger with an LED-light indicator of functionality has been made available that would allow fishermen to easily assess whether their pingers are working with limited interruption to their fishing operation. A N.H. Sea Grant extension agent supported the formation of a partnership involving several fishing community financial assistance entities and NOAA’s Northeast Cooperative Research Program to transfer LED pingers at a reduced cost to the gillnet industry.

RESULTS: Some 4,800 new LED pingers were distributed to over 60 fishermen in the Northeast gillnet groundfish fishery. The effectiveness of the program is now being assessed and N.H. Sea Grant continues to facilitate communication between the pinger manufacturer and the fishing industry to improve pinger design and ease-of-use.

N.H. fishing cooperative continues to reduce costs and open market opportunities with data management system
Business management software installed through a N.H. Sea Grant supported effort at a fishermen's cooperative in 2012 continues to save the cooperative by reducing staff-hours required for dealer reporting and business management.

RELEVANCE: The fishing industry has many reporting and business management requirements, yet the traditional business management software available to fishermen and related fishing businesses is inefficient. In addition, fishermen are increasingly bearing the costs for traceability initiatives imposed by retail and other outlets that realize profits based on “the story of the catch.” In order to sustain fisheries and fishing communities, business management and reporting systems must improve while also capturing the value of the story of the catch.

RESPONSE: In 2012, with help from N.H. Sea Grant and others, Yankee Fishermen’s Cooperative (YFC) of Seabrook, N.H., installed business management software updated with technology developed by Red’s Best Seafood of Boston, Mass.

RESULTS: With the data management system, the Yankee Fishermen's Cooperative is saving four person-hours each day fish are landed due to increased efficiencies in submitting federal dealer reports and managing the cooperative, for a savings of $15,000 during 2013. This allows YFC to redirect some of its labor to innovative marketing approaches. The system also can apply a barcode and traceable branding to the boat for its catch.

Coastal cleanups extended to the Isles of Shoals
The Marine Debris to Energy Project continued to improve and restore habitats on the Isles of Shoals during 2013 through the removal of marine litter and derelict fishing gear.

RELEVANCE: Derelict fishing gear and marine litter are continuing problems in coastal communities, affecting marine wildlife, sea birds, commercial and recreational boaters, and beach goers. Accumulations of lobster traps and associated gear on the Isles of Shoals pose hazards for humans and sea birds, yet the removal of this debris is logistically challenging due to their location five miles offshore.

RESPONSE: While there are frequent coastal cleanups of N.H. beaches, the Isles of Shoals get much less attention. However, N.H. Sea Grant and Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, working through the Marine Debris to Energy Project, have been able to continue yearly cleanups of these islands through the formation of partnerships with local fishermen and other island stakeholders.

RESULTS: In 2013, approximately three tons of marine debris and derelict lobster gear was removed from six of the nine islands and approximately 100 acres were partially restored. New relationships formed with three lobstermen resulted in their participation in marine debris efforts. Most of the fishing gear was either recycled, or incinerated at waste-to-energy plants and converted into electricity.

Lobster gear removal restores coastal habitats in N.H.
The Marine Debris to Energy Project continued to improve and restore coastal habitats in N.H. during 2013 by removing derelict fishing gear and engaging large numbers of fishermen in the effort.

RELEVANCE: Derelict fishing gear and marine litter are continuing problems in coastal communities, affecting marine wildlife, sea birds, commercial and recreational boaters, and beach goers. Accumulations of lobster traps and associated gear on N.H. beaches throughout the year pose hazards for humans and can impact tourism and coastal aesthetics in the state.

RESPONSE: There are frequent coastal cleanups conducted on N.H. beaches, but because of state laws which prevent citizens from touching and removing lobster gear, lobster traps accumulate throughout the year. Under the auspices of the Marine Debris to Energy Project, N.H. Sea Grant, the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, N.H. Fish and Game, and the N.H. Commercial Fishermen’s Association have been able to continue yearly spring cleanups focusing specifically on removal of lobster gear from the entire N.H. coastline.

RESULTS: In 2013, approximately 45 lobstermen and fishermen removed 23 tons of derelict lobster gear from N.H. beaches and partially restored 2240 acres. The gear was then turned into electricity at a neighboring waste-to-energy facility.

N.H. Sea Grant helps establish the Fisheries Extension Network Council
N.H. Sea Grant led the formation of the Fisheries Extension Network Council (FENC) in 2013 and currently chairs the Council, which seeks to foster efficient communication and collaboration among Sea Grant fisheries extension specialists, program leaders and the National Sea Grant Office. Efficient and productive networking will enhance existing programming, support new initiatives, and improve the capacity of Sea Grant to respond effectively to challenges facing sustainable and responsible resource stewardship by our nation’s wild fisheries and aquaculture industries. Ultimately, this initiative will provide critical outcomes for both fishing communities and Sea Grant in an increasingly competitive funding environment with many disparate and often competing entities. The Council aims to support activities that will help realize the full potential of the Sea Grant Network while raising Sea Grant’s value in fishing communities, nationally and within NOAA. The FEN views “fisheries” as including all users – commercial fishermen, for-hire charter/head boat operators, recreational anglers, and those involved in mariculture ventures. In addition to the FENC chair, the Council includes nine regional council members, a National Sea Grant representative, and liaisons with the Sea Grant Extension Assembly and program directors. Monthly meetings, a webinar series, updating and maintaining the FENC list-serve, and fostering collaboration, communication and program development will be key activities of the FENC.

N.H. Sea Grant Specialist wins regional award
N.H. Sea Grant Fisheries Extension Specialist Erik Chapman was part of the team that received the Northeast Sea Grant Consortium Outstanding Outreach Achievement Group Award at the Consortium’s 2013 meeting. The award was presented for the Lobster Trade Adjustment Assistance program, a training and financial assistance effort designed to help fishermen who had experienced revenue decreases and other negative impacts from foreign imports. Sea Grant personnel from five New England states worked on behalf of the region’s lobstermen to create eight workshops focusing on marketing, branding, production efficiency, business models and other aspects of running a successful small business, and to secure the funds to pay attendees. Over 3,000 lobstermen and their spouses participated in the program.

Twitter added to N.H. Fresh and Local Seafood marketing efforts
In March of 2013, N.H. Sea Grant created the @NHSeafood.com Twitter account as an additional tool to reach seafood consumers, partners, restaurants and fishermen. It works in conjunction with the N.H. Seafood Facebook account that was started in 2010. Since the launch of the Twitter account, @NHSeafood.com has grown to 326 followers with approximately 40% added since November 2013. Though the Facebook page has been around for four years, it saw a 12% increase in the number of followers in the last year. Both social media accounts are updated frequently and used to promote and support N.H. Fresh and Local Seafood, our partners, fishermen and N.H. Sea Grant-related work and events.

Modified fishing gear may reduce seabed impacts
A N.H. Sea Grant fisheries extension specialist worked with fishermen to develop their idea for a modified ground cable that reduces seabed impacts. The effort was funded through the GEARNET conservation gear engineering project and experimental tows were carried out in May 2013 off Seabrook, N.H. Video showed reduced seabed contact while using the experimental gear. The Northeast Fisheries Management Council Habitat Committee is considering the feasibility and effectiveness of this relatively inexpensive gear modification, which might be eligible for use in areas that may be opened to “low impact gear.” Management action and use of the developed gear will be tracked in 2014.

N.H. Sea Grant works with fishermen to develop raised gillnet for selective fishing
Given a dramatic reduction in the Atlantic cod allocation to the Northeast groundfishery, fishermen must find ways to avoid cod while targeting other groundfish species. In response, in 2013 a NHSG fisheries extension specialist worked with fishermen to develop and test a gillnet that was raised off the seabed in order to avoid catching cod while still catching other marketable species. A proposal was submitted and funded through the GEARNET conservation gear engineering project. The pilot efforts suggest optimal performance by the four-foot raised gillnets. Future work will include an assessment of the cost/benefit of fishermen using the gear to help determine conditions when a raised gillnet might prove the most useful for meeting fishermen’s needs for gaining profits within their assigned quota. Broader industry adoption and effectiveness of the developed gear will continue to be assessed in 2014.

N.H. Sea Grant’s new website facilitates interactions with the program’s stakeholders
Launched in 2013, N.H. Sea Grant’s new Drupal-based website has improved the flow of information to the program’s many audiences. Incorporating both the former program website and the UNH/NHSG Marine Docent Program website, the new site allows staffers to maintain their own portions of the site and thus makes it more responsive to multiple users. It also features social media, becoming a two-way avenue of communication.

N.H. Sea Grant Led 2013 National Sea Grant Fisheries Extension Network Meeting
NHSG organized funding and led logistical and session planning for a national meeting attended by 50 Sea Grant fisheries and aquaculture specialists from throughout the Sea Grant network. Held in San Diego in the spring of 2013, the meeting’s sessions focused on a broad range of topics including fishing fuel efficiency, direct marketing, fisheries and climate change, invasive species, marine debris, aquaculture, fishing business management, recreational fishing, and economic valuation of our work. Each session fostered discussion and ideas for future collaboration and programming development. In addition to improved network connection and collaboration, outcomes include initiation of a Fisheries Extension Specialist Exchange Program and formation of a Fisheries Extension Network Council with regional representation and explicit connection to the National Sea Grant Office and the Sea Grant Extension Assembly.

Four videos promote interest and encourage involvement in N.H. Sea Grant extension activities
N.H. Sea Grant produced four videos in 2013 that made a positive impact on local communities. The videos documented NHSG staff efforts to promote local lobsters and clean up marine debris; work with a local school to assess the health of a stream on a golf course; monitor American eel populations with the help of volunteers; and promote local seafood to help support N.H. fishermen. These videos have been shared on social media and at events and meetings, amassing 760 views on the NHSG YouTube page. After the public viewed these videos, NSHG staff members have been contacted by various individuals, organizations and schools expressing an interest in getting involved with these extension activities to help make a difference in their community.

2012

N.H. Sea Grant Facilitates Development of Locally Branded Seafood
RELEVANCE: Traditional seafood markets available to N.H. fishermen appear to be neither flexible nor profitable enough to sustain fishing businesses given today's dynamic and unpredictable management and ecosystems. In response, many fishermen are beginning to engage in alternative marketing strategies, many of which involve partnerships with local businesses. Developing these markets is difficult for fishermen and associated businesses because they often require developing new skills, capacities, relationships and infrastructures to make the seafood available and to cultivate consumers.
RESPONSE: NHSG has taken a leadership role in this area by working closely with elements of the fishing community to establish innovative approaches to marketing and business management. Sea Grant facilitates relationships and delivers expertise to aid in this process through facilitating community meetings and connecting University expertise with grassroots efforts.
RESULTS: N.H. Sea Grant helped facilitate the formation of a Community Supported Fishery that provided 60 shareholders with ground fish and lobster during two eight-week sessions in the summer and fall of 2012. In addition, Sea Grant redesigned and relaunched a website, NHSeafood.com, that provides community profiles and other information that educates the public about the N.H. fishing industry. NHSG also developed partnerships with many new restaurants, helping facilitate an increased flow of N.H. caught seafood to local restaurants, and provided publicity and links to UNH resources to food entrepreneurs who developed value-added "Lobster Ravioli" and "Pollock Fish-sticks."
RECAP: Using UNH-based expertise, NHSG has helped direct greater profits to the state’s fishermen by marketing their catch directly to local markets and restaurants.

NHSG Helps Fishing Cooperative Reduce Costs and Open Marketing Opportunities
RELEVANCE: Fishing communities are burdened with vast reporting and business management requirements. This burden is amplified by inherent inefficiencies in the reporting requirements and the traditional business management software available to fishermen and related fishing businesses. In addition, fishermen are increasingly bearing the costs for traceability initiatives imposed by retail and other outlets that realize profits based on “the story of the catch.” To achieve sustainable fisheries and fishing communities, it is critical for fishing businesses to improve the efficiency of their business management and reporting mechanisms while capturing the value of the story of the catch before it leaves fishing communities. All of these problems can be addressed by improving data management processes that begin on the dock when fishermen land their catch.
RESPONSE: In 2012, N.H. Sea Grant partnered with the Yankee Fishermen's Cooperative (YFC) of Seabrook, N.H., Red's Best Seafood of Boston, Mass., and the N.H. Groundfish Sectors to overhaul the YFC business management software with technology developed by Red's.
RESULTS: The Yankee Fishermen's Cooperative is now saving four to six person-hours each day fish are landed using their new data management system, for a savings of $11,500 during 2012. The system automatically delivers dealer reports to the NOAA Fisheries Service with the touch of a button, and it also delivers catch and sales data to accounting spreadsheets. The system allows YFC to redirect some of its labor to innovative marketing approaches and can also apply a barcode and traceable branding to the boat for its catch.
RECAP: N.H. Sea Grant has partnered with local fishermen to improve the efficiency of their data management and reporting, opening the door to innovative marketing approaches, including local branding and delivering a completely traceable seafood product to the market place.

Innovative Gear Helps Fishermen Sustain the Industry
RELEVANCE: Fisheries management sets aggressive conservation goals based on mandated elements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. In addition, sector management provides strict incentives for fishermen to target abundant species while avoiding weaker stocks. The development of new fishing gear and practices are critical in this setting to sustain the industry.
RESPONSE For many years, N.H. Sea Grant has engaged in collaborative research projects and outreach efforts that explore opportunities for fishermen to fish more selectively through innovative gear modifications.
RESULTS: N.H. Sea Grant led a collaborative research and outreach project designed to reduce the catch of Atlantic cod while increasing or not influencing the catch rate of other target species, such as Pollock. A follow-up effort in 2012 further tested a raised gillnet that appears to achieve this aim. Use of the nets will be expanded in 2013 and should allow N.H. fishermen to catch more of their allowable quota by being more selective with their fishing effort. Presentation of this work at several workshops and informally to fishermen resulted in extending this project to gillnet fishermen from Port Clyde, Maine.
RECAP: N.H. Sea Grant continues to partner with fishermen and other regional scientists to test a gillnet design that avoids Atlantic cod, a species with limited Total Allowable Catch, while continuing to catch other economically valuable species, such as Pollock.


Marine Debris to Energy Project Cleans Coast and Produces Power
In 2012, NHSG’s Marine Debris to Energy Project (MDEP) collected and recycled 33 metric tons of derelict fishing gear and cleaned 32.2 miles of coastline. This year the program was expanded to the Isles of Shoals, located five miles offshore. A collaboration with the commercial fishing industry, N.H. Fish and Game and coastal communities, MDEP is a New Hampshire-based project to study marine debris at sea and on the shore, incorporating waste-to-energy and recycling as part of cleanup efforts. MDEP addresses marine debris by involving fishermen in disposal of derelict gear, conducting beach cleanups, and surveying areas in the Gulf of Maine for underwater and floating debris. The associated website, nhmarinedebris.org, provides project data, educational materials, information on beach cleanups, and GIS maps showing litter at sea. There is also a project blog at www.nhmarinedebris.blogspot.com. In 2012, the blog featured posts about the new Isles of Shoals cleanup effort, the effects of single-use plastics on beaches and oceans, and the complexity of the marine debris and derelict fishing gear problem and possible solutions.

NHSG Leads National Community Supported Fisheries Summit
In late spring 2012, N.H. Sea Grant partnered with Maine Sea Grant to fund, organize and host a National Community Supported Fisheries (CSF) Summit. This event brought together 70 extension workers and fishermen and organizers involved with CSFs. Overall, 21 CSFs were represented from nine states and two Canadian provinces. In addition, 40 extension specialists participated in a follow-up webinar that summarized results and impacts. The final report from the meeting has been used to identify needs for fishing communities engaging in alternative marketing strategies. The Summit led directly to changes in CSF management among many participants and has led to increased networking and exchange of expertise that has improved CSF efficiency nationally.

Website Redesign Improves Access to Local Seafood Information
Created and maintained by NHSG’s fisheries extension staff and operated in collaboration with both the commercial fishing industry and the seafood business community, NHseafood.com was redesigned in 2012 with new features and resources for both fishermen and consumers, leading to a 53% increase in visitorship over the year. NHseafood.com provides users with information about the N.H. Fresh and Local Seafood brand, including where to purchase it and the seasonal availability of local seafood. N.H. Fresh and Local Seafood provides a direct channel to purchase local fish, making it a distinct and unique product supporting the community and helping to keep the fishing industry alive.

Sustainable Fisheries Blog Continues to Inform
Launched by N.H. Sea Grant in 2010, the N.H. Sustainable Marine Fisheries blog is dedicated to bringing interested parties updated information on events, news, ideas and discussions related to New Hampshire and Northeast sustainable marine fisheries. During 2012, the blog featured commentary from NHSG staffers on a number of issues, including the lobster pricing structure in N.H., steelhead trout, mussel and sugar kelp aquaculture efforts, new fuel efficient technology, and marine spatial planning. The blog is online at nhsustainablefisheries.blogspot.com.


2011
 
Green-Fit Program Seeks to Increase Efficiency of Fishing Boats
During the summer of 2011, N.H. Sea Grant helped refit two vessels with oil-filter bypass systems, real-time fuel monitoring systems, and hydrogen assist fuel injection systems as part of the Green-Fit Program, a national effort to improve the efficiency of fishing boats. One of the vessels was also refitted with a passive wind generator and a LED deck lighting system. Cost-benefit analysis indicated that the hydrogen fuel injection systems provided no measurable increase in the energy efficiency of the fishing operations. However, the LED deck lighting system paid for itself in less than two years and provides an estimated savings of $30,000 over 11 years. The passive wind generation system would take 15 years to pay for itself, but provides the indirect benefits of a high-visibility green strategy that reduces the carbon footprint of a fishing operation. Continued testing of installed and other systems will occur throughout 2012.
 
NHSG Demonstrates the Use of the Spiny Dogfish Excluder (DOGGRATE) in the Small Mesh Whiting Fishery
A spiny dogfish (“Squalus acanthias”) excluder grate placed within the extension of a silver hake (whiting) trawl has been shown to significantly reduce the bycatch of dogfish. N.H. Sea Grant worked with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries to transfer this technology to the whiting fishery. In 2011, five commercial fishermen used the DOGGRATE. This will lead to increases in the quality of marketable catches, reductions in non-target species mortality, and decreases in the codend catch handling times.
NHSG Guides Development and Coordination of Regional Lobster Trade Adjustment and Assistance Program
In New Hampshire, 154 lobstermen participated in the Lobster Trade Adjustment and Assistance Program, a USDA training and financial assistance effort designed to help fishermen who have experienced revenue decreases due to foreign imports. In 2011, workshops were held in N.H. both in-person and online for participants in this program. The in-person workshops held in Portsmouth, N.H., were also attended by lobstermen from southern Maine and northern Massachusetts. N.H. Sea Grant developed two workshops and helped facilitate the sign-up, initial orientation and intensive workshop portions of this program and generally provided support for lobstermen as they progressed through the program.
Getting Your Business on the Digital Map Curriculum Developed
As part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program for New England Lobster fishermen, N.H. Sea Grant developed a curriculum that teaches how to increase the internet visibility of a seafood business. This curriculum is available nationally through the TAA for Farmers program, which is coordinated by the USDA and was offered to more than 4,000 commercial lobstermen in New England.
Energy Consumption and Fishing Efficiency For Lobstermen Curriculum Developed
As part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program for New England Lobster fishermen, N.H. Sea Grant developed a curriculum that teaches fishermen how to increase their operational efficiency as well as reduce energy consumption to improve profit margins. This curriculum is available nationally through the TAA for Farmers program, which is coordinated by the USDA and was offered to more than 4,000 commercial lobstermen in New England.
Marine Debris to Energy Project Collects and Recycles Over 50 Metric Tons of Debris
In 2011, the Marine Debris to Energy Project (MDEP) collected and recycled more than 50 metric tons of derelict fishing gear and lobster pots through collaboration with the commercial fishing industry and coastal communities. MDEP is a New Hampshire-based project to study marine debris at sea and on the shore, incorporating waste-to-energy and recycling as part of cleanup efforts. MDEP addresses marine debris by involving fishermen in disposal of derelict gear, conducting beach cleanups, and surveying areas in the Gulf of Maine for underwater and floating debris. The website nhmarinedebris.org contains information such as project data, educational materials, information on beach cleanups, and GIS maps showing litter at sea. There is also a blog at http://www.nhmarinedebris.blogspot.com/. MDEP is partly funded by N.H. Sea Grant.
N.H. Shrimp Industry Uses Direct-to-Market Sales to Increase Product Value
In 2011, the N.H. shrimp industry used direct-to-market shrimp sales (Community Supported Fisheries, direct sales and farm-to-market venues) to increase product value from $0.55 per pound to $2 per pound compared to wholesale prices. This resulted in an additional $2900 for Yankee Fishermen’s Cooperative and an additional $2175 for the F/V Rimrack, the creation of 1 job and the retention of 2 jobs.
N.H. Shrimp Industry Uses Direct-to-Market Sales to Increase Product Value
In 2011, the N.H. shrimp industry used direct-to-market shrimp sales (Community Supported Fisheries, direct sales and farm-to-market venues) to increase product value from $0.55 per pound to $2 per pound compared to wholesale prices. This resulted in an additional $2900 for Yankee Fishermen’s Cooperative and an additional $2175 for the F/V Rimrack, the creation of 1 job and the retention of 2 jobs.
NHSG Blogs About Sustainable Fisheries
N.H. Sea Grant and UNH Cooperative Extension contribute to the N.H. Sustainable Marine Fisheries blog at http://nhsustainablefisheries.blogspot.com. The blog is dedicated to bringing interested parties updated information on events, news, ideas and discussions related to New Hampshire and Northeast sustainable marine fisheries.
Non-parallel Bar Shrimp Grate Continues to be Adopted by Shrimp Fishery
The non-parallel bar shrimp grate developed through collaboration with Dr. Ken La Valley (N.H. Sea Grant), the Maine Department of Marine Resources and members of the fishing industry has continued to be adopted by the Northeast Regional Northern shrimp fishery. In 2011, approximately 30% of the fleet used this tool which reduces the bycatch of non-target fish to less than 2% of the catch and significantly reduces the catch of small juvenile male shrimp vital to the sustainability of the resource.
Website Provides Users with Local Seafood Information
The website NHseafood.com provides users with information about the N.H. Fresh and Local Seafood brand, including where to purchase it and the seasonal availability of local seafood. N.H. Fresh and Local Seafood provides a direct channel to purchase local fish, making it a distinct and unique product supporting the community and helping to keep the fishing industry alive. The website is managed and coordinated by N.H. Sea Grant’s Fisheries Extension program. Website goals are developed by an advisory group made up of N.H. Sea Grant specialists, industry representatives and the seafood business community.
2010

N.H. Fishermen Using Innovative Marketing to Help Themselves
 
RELEVANCE: With the transition from days-at-sea groundfish management to the current sector allocation system, the small fishing fleet in Maine, N.H., and Mass. has suffered economically.
 
RESPONSE: NHSG worked with the commercial fishing industry to diversify and pursue innovative marketing strategies to sustain the industry's operations. With the development of community supported fisheries (CSFs), the new N.H. Fresh and Local seafood brand, and marketing seafood at farmer's markets, fishermen have increased the availability of locally harvested seafood to consumers.
  
RESULTS: During 2010, more than 1,450 people have participated in fish and shrimp CSFs. New markets allowed for a significant increase in the amount of locally harvested northern shrimp that were sold, valued at $1.60 per pound when sold through direct marketing channels compared to $0.50 per pound by wholesaler. In addition, more than 30 businesses on the N.H. seacoast have become N.H. Fresh and Local brand partners.
  
RECAP: NHSG worked closely with the commercial fishing industry and local partners to coordinate and implement new marketing strategies that provided economic benefits to fishermen and fresh, local sources of seafood to consumers.
 
30% of Northeast Shrimpers Using Conservation Technology
 
The amount of bycatch in the shrimping business has always been a point of concern finfish and groundfish accidentally caught in the nets sometimes outweigh the shrimp. The Nordmore grid, which became mandatory in 1992, was somewhat successful in lowering bycatch but still allowed small fish to be captured. N.H. commercial fishermen worked closely with NHSG staff to design a new topless trawl based on the difference in swimming behaviors between fish and shrimp. By removing the top portion of a shrimp trawl, the new nets allow fish to swim over the headline to escape while capturing the shrimp that roll along the bottom of the net. The topless trawl significantly reduces bycatch, which decreases the sorting time needed on boats and can thus improve the shrimp quality. During the 2010 northern shrimp season, there were 121 vessels from Maine, 5 from Massachusetts, and 14 from New Hampshire, for a total of 140 using shrimp trawls. Of those vessels, approximately 30% use conservation technology developed and transferred to the industry by N.H. Sea Grant.
 
Over 80 Metric Tons of Marine Debris Collected and Recycled
 
In 2010, the Marine Debris to Energy Project (MDEP) collected and recycled more than 80 metric tons of derelict fishing gear and lobster pots through collaboration with the commercial fishing industry and coastal communities. MDEP is a New Hampshire-based project to study marine debris at sea and on the shore, incorporating waste-to-energy and recycling as part of cleanup efforts. MDEP addresses marine debris by involving fishermen in disposal of derelict gear, conducting beach cleanups, and surveying areas in the Gulf of Maine for underwater and floating debris. MDEP is partly funded by N.H. Sea Grant.

 

2009

 
Fisheries extension activities through 2009 continued to be focused on increasing stakeholder awareness of cooperative research efforts in the northeast, building cooperative research partnerships, continuing safety awareness in the N.H. commercial fishing fleet and transferring size selection technology to the Northern shrimp fishery. In addition, significant program effort was placed on continuing the marine debris to energy program and sustainable seafood marketing and consumer education. Along with the continued goal of transfering conservation gear technology that will reduce bycatch and minimize the imapct of fishing gear on benthic habitats, the primary fisheries extension goals have expanded to include sustainable seafood and education objectives.
 
Promote Cooperative Research and Increase Project Awareness
 
In 2009, the Fisheries Roundtable series was continued in partnership with the Northeast Consortium. Topics included winter flounder habitat, cod, rolling closures and catch share programs. More emphasis was placed on identifying important relevant topics. A total of 106 participants attended the fisheries roundtable series. As in 2008, emphasis was placed on planning and coordinating larger events that would allow greater participation from industry, science and regulatory stakeholders. In particular, the first annual “N.H. Fish and Lobster Festival” was planned. In total, more than 4000 people from the seacoast attended the festival which was an educational opportunity to learn about the fishing industry, health benefits of seafood and the importance of buying local. Post-workshop interview surveys indicated participants increased their awareness of the impacts of cooperative research in the Gulf of Maine as well as their knowledge of current fisheries issues.
 
The NEC/UNH Cooperative Extension contract with the Commercial Fisheries News fishing newspaper was extended through 2009. Topics included N.H. industry participation in farmer’s markets, hydro-acoustic tracking of tuna and cod populations, N.H. seafood branding initiatives and research on the sea cucumber. A new partnership with Fishermen’s Voice, a regional fishing industry trade publication, was formed resulting in a contract to write four articles per year highlighting collaborative research and industry topics.
Fishing industry awareness of cooperative research and the benefits of partnering with the science community were increased. Awareness was increased using industry publications, websites, and Sea Grant publications. Eight articles were published in the Commercial Fisheries News (CFN), of which six highlighted cooperative research and two focused on efforts to brand and market N.H. seafood. The CFN readership is estimated at more than 10,000 individuals. Two Sea Grant publication were published in 2009: Proceedings of the Northeast Regional Tagging Symposium and Collaborative Research Visioning Project – A Decade of Discovery.
 
Increase Industry Participation in Cooperative Research
 
Interest and participation in cooperative research was increased through extension contacts with fishermen and researchers region-wide (Mass., N.H. and Maine). As a result of outreach efforts, in 2009 a total of five fisheries related cooperative research proposals were submitted to the NMFS CRPP, NOAA Saltenstall-Kennedy, Northeast Regional Aquaculture Center program and Maine Sea Grant. One project was funded and four are currently in review. A total of 20 fishermen and 8 scientists partnered in the development of these proposals.
 
In addition to proposals directly involving and supporting commercial fishermen, three proposals were submitted to fund and/or enhance fisheries and aquaculture programming: Fisheries Extension Enhancement transition funding, N.H. Proposal for PSP Relief Assistance, and BWET Marine Watershed Education Proposal.
 
Conservation Engineering and Technology Transfer
 
Since 2004, the UNH Cooperative Extension Commercial Fisheries program has worked collaboratively with fishing industry members, researchers at UNH and the Maine Department of Marine Resources to enhance the selectivity and reduce bycatch in the northern shrimp fishery. Several strategies or devices have been developed that will significantly enhance size selectivity of shrimp and have been shown to reduce the catch of non-target species. Two strategies in particular, the dual-grid system and the non-parallel grate, have been identified for transfer to the industry. From 2005 to the present, adoption of the gear has increased to twenty fishing vessels, representing approximately 20% of the total regional shrimp fleet. Struggles with consistent market demand and importation of Canadian shrimp limited opportunities to use the gear during the current fishing season.
 
For the 2009 – 2010 season four additional fishermen will have acquired the dual-grid system: three fishermen from Gloucester, Mass. and one fishermen from Portland, Maine.       
 
Responsiveness to Industry Needs   
 
In response to fishing vessel related mortalities that occur annually in the Northeast, a Safety-at-Sea program was developed in 2004 and offered to fishermen. The Safety-at-Sea program includes workshops and training in weather interpretation and forecasting, welding safety, marine engine repair, and US Coast Guard Certification as a Vessel Safety Drill Conductor. Since 2004, 139 N.H. and Maine commercial fishermen obtained certification as Vessel Safety Drill Conductors. Based on survey results, for the first time CPR/First Aid training and certification was offered to N.H. fishermen. In total, 24 industry members were certified in CPR and first aid.
 
The rising cost of fees and fuel, coupled with a tenuous economy, has caused fishermen to weigh their options and find a positive solution. The N.H. fishing industry sought a way to sell fish locally in order to reduce the cost of transportation and handling by out-of-state distribution agents as well as to provide additional economic opportunities. In 2009, the N.H. Commercial Fisherman's Association (NHCFA) undertook a partnership with UNH Cooperative Extension, N.H. Sea Grant and the Yankee Fishermen’s Cooperative, along with local seafood groups, restaurants and fish markets, to develop a local brand for N.H. seafood. Since the brand’s unveiling July 1, 2009, 23 seacoast businesses have become N.H. Fresh and Local brand partners. Vendors sign an agreement that products marketed under the N.H. Fresh and Local brand have been delivered efficiently and directly to consumers, that the species marketed are those managed sustainably, and that there is confidence regarding their point of origin. The Website www.nhseafood.com is administered by the fisheries extension program.
 
The Yankee Fishermen’s Cooperative became the first N.H. fishing organization to participate in the N.H. Seacoast's Winter Farmers' Market. Starting in February of 2009, the cooperative sold fresh-caught northern shrimp at the Exeter and Stratham farmer’s markets. Not only did they sell about 2,000 pounds of shrimp, but they also increased foot travel to the farmer's markets by 30%.
 
During the summer of 2009, two additional Farmer’s Markets were developed (Rye and Newmarket) with fishing industry collaboration. The first N.H. fresh fish community supported fishery (CSF) was established with over 100 customers and five delivery locations. Yankee Fisherman’s Cooperative will be hosting the first shrimp CSF for the 2009-2010 shrimp season. There are more than 150 community shareholders with four delivery sites. The Coop will also be participating in the winter farmer’s market season and anticipates selling more than 10K additional pounds of shrimp direct to consumers at an estimated value of $18,000.
 
Expertise in HACCP and seafood safety regulations continues to be used to obtain associated permits and harvester certification credentials for an off-shore mussel aquaculture business (AE Lang Fishing), a seafood retailer (Seaport Fish, Rye) and fishermen interested in selling fresh product through farmer’s markets or community supported fisheries.
 
Other Noteworthy Fisheries Extension Accomplishments
 
The “Marine Debris to Energy” program began in April 2008, with funding from NOAA. This program engages the fishing community to remove derelict fishing gear from the Gulf of Maine as well as increase beach clean-up capacity along coastal N.H. To date 4.6 metric tons of fishing gear has been collected and recycled at a local energy conversion plant. In addition, monofilament bin collectors were posted at several recreational fishing piers and shops. A regional Web database system was developed and is active at www.nhmarinedebris.org. This site incorporated GIS mapping technology that can be used to map marine debris trends.

2006

Understanding fishing gear selectivity and designing gear that reduces bycatch and discards have remained a primary focus of NHSG Extension staff during the past year. A project to test new designs of low vertical profile gillnets in reducing cod catch in groundfish gillnets was completed, and a paper was published in Fisheries Research. A new project has begun to further test the low vertical profile nets in three states.

Two new projects to modify shrimp trawl designs to further reduce the catch of fish and small shrimp were funded by the Northeast Consortium and the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Cooperative Research Partners Program. Sea trials have been completed. The newly designed grid system reduced shrimp count (increased average shrimp size) by 15 to 20 count per pound. The topless shrimp trawl design reduced herring bycatch by 90% without loss of shrimp. Outreach effort for the projects is continuing with information workshops and commercial use of the devices.

Two projects testing new concepts of haddock trawls have started. A rope separator haddock trawl has been completed. The trawl reduced cod catch by 61% with a 16% loss of haddock. The trawl eliminated almost all other species including flounder, lobster, skates and dogfish. Preliminary sea trials have showed promising results. Sea trials for a raised footrope haddock trawl will be continuing this spring.

Codend mesh sizes are strictly regulated in the multispecies fisheries in the northeastern United States. Effective mesh regulation requires good understanding of codend mesh size selectivity for different species. A project to study codend selectivity funded by the National Marine Fisheries Services was completed. A presentation on “Selectivity and Catch Efficiency of Commercial and Survey Gear” was made at the American Fisheries Society annual meeting in Anchorage, AK. The first paper in a series on codend mesh selectivity has been published in Fisheries Research.

Sea Grant Extension’s goals are to assist fishing industry participants in New Hampshire in particular and New England in general in upgrading their knowledge of fishing gear operation, responsible fisheries and conservation engineering. Following successful workshops at Memorial University’s (Newfoundland) tow tank facility in December 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005, a fifth workshop was held in May 2006 with fishermen attending from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, as well as representatives from NMFS. The next workshop in this series is being planned for 2008.

In parallel with improving fishermen’s knowledge of conservation and responsible fishing practice, two workshops to increase fishing gear knowledge of non-industry personnel were conducted in the summers of 2005 and 2007. These workshops are unique because fishermen were the principal instructors for the workshop, both on-the-dock and at-sea. The participants were from NMFS scientific and management offices, congressional staffs, the NH Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Coast Guard, NH Sea Grant and the UNH Marine Docent Program.

2005

As the numbers of fishing days available to NH commercial fishermen continue to diminish, safety at sea becomes a larger issue since fishermen are going further offshore and staying out on longer trips. Forty-two industry members completed a Sea Grant-sponsored vessel safety training program. They learned emergency response protocols, ground safety equipment use and inspection, as well as fire, flood and abandoning ship procedures. The participants were also trained in at-sea survival techniques, signaling and flare use.

Interests in and support of cooperative research was increased through Sea Grant Extension contacts with fishermen in Gloucester, MA, Portland, ME, Seabrook, NH, and Portsmouth, NH. Eight commercial fishermen were partnered with three UNH scientists, which resulted in one project funded by the NMFS Cooperative Research Partnership Program, four project development proposals submitted to the Northeast Consortium (NEC), and one funded full proposal also through the NEC. The NEC experienced an increase in the number of project development grants submitted. This increase was impacted by fisheries extension activities.

Public, management, government and conservation group awareness of fishing gear, techniques and approaches, as well as of the impact of regulations on fishermen, was increased through a Sea Grant Extension organized and industry led two-day workshop sponsored by the NEC. Sixteen participants completed the workshop and Sea Grant received funding to offer it again next year.

Understanding fishing gear selectivity and designing gear that reduces bycatch and discards have remained primary focuses of Sea Grant Extension activities during the past year. A project to test two new designs of low vertical profile gillnets in reducing cod catch in groundfish gillnets was completed. A low profile net with one third of the height of a standard cod net was found to have potential to reduce cod catch without reduction in flounder catch.

A project that uses water-borne kites to expand meshes in a shrimp codend to provide easier escape for small fish and small shrimp was funded by the Northeast Consortium. Flume tank tests and sea trials have been carried out. Two new projects to modify shrimp trawl designs to further reduce the catch of fish and small shrimp have been funded by the Northeast Consortium and the National Marine Fisheries Service's Cooperative Research Partners Program. Design and tank simulation have been completed. Sea trials will be conducted this fishing season.

With emerging challenges of continued low biomass of the Atlantic cod in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank and a marked increase in haddock biomass, the design, testing and utilization of haddock trawls has become a priority in fisheries management in New England. Two projects testing new concepts of haddock trawls have started. Preliminary sea trials have showed promising results. Further sea trials will be carried out during spring/summer of 2006.

Regulating codend mesh sizes in trawls is a key element in the multispecies fisheries management plans in the northeastern U.S. Effective mesh regulation requires good understanding of codend mesh size selectivity for different species. Two projects to study trawl codend selectivity have been completed. A project supported by the Northeast Consortium focused on the development of a new codend cover for use onboard small fishing vessels in the Gulf of Maine. The cover was used in a project to study codend selectivity funded by the National Marine Fisheries Services.

2004

Understanding fishing gear selectivity and designing gear that reduces bycatch and discards have remained a primary focus of our Sea Grant Extension Program during the past year. This work is carried out by Extension Specialist Pingguo He. A project to test two new designs of low vertical profile gillnets in reducing cod catch in groundfish gillnets was completed. A low profile net with one third the height of a standard cod net was found to have potential to reduce cod catch without reduction in flounder catch. A proposal to further test the low vertical profile nets in wider area has been funded by the Northeast Consortium. Sea trials will be carried out in the 2005 fishing season.

A project that uses water-borne kites to expand meshes in a shrimp codend to provide easier escape for small fish and small shrimps was also funded by the Northeast Consortium. Flume tank tests and sea trials have been carried out. Results are being analyzed.

With emerging challenges of continued low biomass of Atlantic cod in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank and marked increase in haddock biomass, design, testing and utilization of haddock trawls has become a priority in fisheries management in New England. Two new proposals for testing two new concepts of haddock trawls have been funded by the National Marine Fisheries Service Cooperative Research Partnership Initiative and Northeast Consortium. Design work has started with flume tank tests scheduled in December 2004. Sea trials will be carried in the summer of 2005.

Effect of fishing on the seabed and the environment has become a debated subject in the recent decade. Sea Grant Extension's focus is to design and test fishing gear that is less intrusive to the seabed. A developmental project funded by the Northeast Consortium to design and test fishing gear that reduces seabed effect during trawling was completed in 2002 by He. A follow-up project on a semi-pelagic shrimp trawl has been funded by the Northeast Consortium. Sea trials carried out in the 2003 and 2004 shrimp seasons showed promising results, even though more work is needed to better control the behavior of the net. Further tank tests using kites as depressors were carried out in September 2004. Sea trials will be carried out in the 2005 fishing season.

At the ICES Fish Technology and Fish Behavior (FTFB) Working Group meeting in Poland in April 2004, He chaired a session on reducing seabed impact of towed fishing gear with a comprehensive summary of the work being carried out around the world on the subject. This report has become a part of the FTFB annual report.

Regulating codend mesh sizes in trawls is a key element in the multi-species fisheries management plans in the northeastern U.S. Effective mesh regulation requires good understanding of codend mesh size selectivity for different species. Two SGE projects were conducted to study trawl codend selectivity. A project supported by the Northeast Consortium focused on the development of a new codend cover for use onboard small fishing vessels in the Gulf of Maine. The cover uses water-borne kites to expand meshes instead of traditional hoops. Flume tank tests and underwater observations resulted in a suitable codend cover that is easy to operate onboard small vessels. The cover was used in a project to study codend selectivity funded by the National Marine Fisheries Services. The first year sea trials tested five codend types and have obtained very useful results for six important groundfish species: cod, haddock, yellowtail flounder, American plaice, witch flounder and winter flounder. The 2004 sea trials further tested the effect of chafing gears, knotless netting and meshes with 90 degree turned configuration (oval mesh).

Training and outreach programs are core functions of Sea Grant Extension. Our goals include assisting fishing industry participants in NH in particular and New England in general in upgrading their knowledge

Publications

Available from the National Sea Grant Library (use NHU number to search) or NH Sea Grant

Journal Article

  • He, P. (2005). Characteristics of bycatch of porcupine crabs, "Neolithodes grimaldii" (Milne-Edwards and Bouvier, 1894) from deepwater turbot gillnets in the northwest Atlantic. Fisheries Research 74:35-43, August 2005.
  • He, P., T. Smith and C. Bouchard (2008). Fish behaviour and species separation for the Gulf of Maine multispecies trawls. Journal of Ocean Technology 3(2):60-77, April-July 2008.
  • Feeney, R., K. La Valley and M. Hall-Arber (2010). Assessing stakeholder perspectives on the impacts of a decade of collaborative fisheries research in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank. Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science 2:205-216, 2010.
  • He, P. (2007). Selectivity of large mesh trawl codends in the Gulf of Maine I. Comparison of square and diamond mesh. Fisheries Research 83(1):44-59, January 2007.
  • He, P. and V. Balzano (2007). Reducing the catch of small shrimps in the Gulf of Maine pink shrimp fishery with a size-sorting grid device. ICES Journal of Marine Science 64(8):1551-1557, November 2007.
  • Yu, C., Z. Chen, L. Chen and P. He (2007). The rise and fall of electrical beam trawling for shrimp in the East China Sea: technology, fishery, and conservation implications. ICES Journal of Marine Science 64(8):1592-1597, November 2007.
  • Chapman, E.W., C. Jorgensen and M.E. Lutcavage. Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus): a state-dependent energy allocation model for growth, maturation, and reproductive investment. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 68(11):1934-1951, November 2011.
  • He, P. (2006). Gillnets: gear design, fishing performance and conservation challenges. Marine Technology Society Journal 40(3):12-19, Fall 2006.
  • He, P., D. Goethel and T. Smith (2007). Design and test of a topless shrimp trawl to reduce pelagic fish bycatch in the Gulf of Maine pink shrimp fishery. Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science 38:13-21, 2007.
  • Chapman, E.W., E.E. Hofmann, D.L. Patterson, C.A. Ribic and W.R. Fraser. Marine and terrestrial factors affecting Adelie penguin Pygoscelis adeliae chick growth and recruitment off the western Antarctic Peninsula. Marine Ecology Progress Series 436:273-289, 2011.
  • La Valley, K., J. DeAlteris, M. Rice and M. Gomez-Chiarri (2008). North Atlantic "Vibrio vulnificus" surveillance from postharvest oysters at a US shellfish processing facility. Journal of Foodservice 19(4):234-237, August 2008.
  • He, P. (2006). Effect of the headline height of gillnets on species selectivity in the Gulf of Maine. Fisheries Research 78:252-256, 2006.
  • La Valley, K. and P. He (2008). Training in reversal: a fishing gear workshop by fishermen for non-fishermen. Journal of Extension 46(3), June 2008. Article #3IAW5.
  • La Valley, K., S. Jones, M. Gomez-Chiarri, J. Dealteris and M. Rice (2009). Bacterial community profiling of the Eastern Oyster ("Crassostrea virginica"): comparison of culture-dependent and culture-independent outcomes. Journal of Shellfish Research 28(4):827-835, December 2009.
  • He, P. and C. Wardle (2005). Effect of caudal fin height on swimming kinematics in the mackerel "Scomber scombrus" L. Journal of Fish Biology 67:274-278, 2005.

Report

  • 2010 Northeast Regional Redfish Symposium (2010). Erik Chapman, Tyler Burr, Benjamin Metcalf, Kenneth Perkins and Daniel Robbins.
  • Reconciling spatial scales and stock structures for fisheries science and management (2011). Rachel Gallant Feeney and Kenneth La Valley.
  • 2007 Haddock Workshop: recent advances in haddock separation technology (2007). Ken LaValley.
  • What is the optimum mesh size to harvest groundfish on Georges Bank? Drawing conclusions from cooperative research (2006). Ken LaValley.
  • Seafood--balancing benefits and risks: a report on the conference (2008). Katherine Lanzer.
  • A decade of discovery: collaborative research in the Gulf of Maine, a report on the 2008 Collaborative Research Visioning Project (2008). Rachel Gallant Feeney and Kenneth La Valley.
  • Tagging 2008: A report on the Northeast Regional Tagging Symposium (2009). Rebecca Zeiber, Steve Adams, Rachel Feeney and Ken La Valley.
  • Western Gulf of Maine closure area 2007 symposium (2007). Raymond Grizzle, Ken LaValley, Rachel Gallant, Holly Bayley, Caitlin Cavanaugh, Pauline Galardi and Steve Adams.

Guide

  • A consumers guide to buying quality New Hampshire seafood (2014)

Periodical

  • Dual grid design reduces catch of small shrimp (2007). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 34(7):2B, March 2007.
  • Opportunity knocks: the potential for a revitalized redfish fishery in the Gulf of Maine (2011). Erik Chapman. Fishermen's Voice 16(2):10-11, February 2011.
  • Longliners, scientists team to study cod survival (2006). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 33(7), March 2006.
  • Line cutters may slice whale entanglement risk (2007). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 34(10):2B, June 2007.
  • How does trap density relate to lobster catch? (2006). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 33(10), June 2006.
  • Can mischmetal stave off dogfish hordes? (2007). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 35(1):2B, September 2007.
  • Otoliths may hold key to monkfish migration (2006). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 34(1), September 2006.
  • Fishermen teach nonfishermen gear basics (2007). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 35(4):2B, December 2007.
  • Co-op research nets alternative lobster bait (2008). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 35(10), June 2008.
  • Sea cucumber benefits from cooperative research (2008). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 35(7):2B, March 2008.
  • Collaborative research has proven its worth (2008). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 36(2), October 2008.
  • Yankee Co-op sells direct at farmers' markets (2009). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 36(7), March 2009.
  • REDNET: collaborative project aims to rebuild redfish fishery (2011). Erik Chapman. Commercial Fisheries News 39(4):39, December 2011.
  • MREP teaches council, fishery science basics (2008). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 36(4), December 2008.
  • Gearing up for shrimp season: "topless" shrimp nets increase catch, decrease bycatch (2010). Ken La Valley and Becky Zeiber. Fishermen's Voice 15(2):12, February 2010.
  • Dog-grate aims to boost access to whiting (2009). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 36(10), June 2009.
  • Fisheries "Atlas" Project maps at-sea fishing communities in New England (2009). Ken La Valley and Rebecca Zeiber. Fishermen's Voice 14(11):10-11, November 2009.
  • Proposal in works for pilot summer shrimp fishery (2010). Ken La Valley and Dana Morse. Commercial Fisheries News 37(8):2B, April 2010.
  • Cooperative research aids shrimp grate advance (2005). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 32(7), March 2005.
  • Acoustics' use grows; gauges cod, bluefin abundance (2009). Ken La Valley and Rebecca Zeiber. Commercial Fisheries News 37(1):2B, September 2009.
  • Littlefield helps to build plankton database (2005). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 32(10), June 2005.
  • Co-op research team tests new ideas to cut juvenile haddock, cod bycatch (2009). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 37(4):2B, December 2009.
  • MA fisherman, DMF find a cod pot that works (2005). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 33(1), September 2005.
  • N.H. collaboration launches state brand name (2009). Ken La Valley and Rebecca Zeiber. Commercial Fisheries News 36(12):2B, August 2009.
  • Partners gauge survival of hook-caught dogfish (2006). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 34(4):2B, December 2006.
  • Complex effects of climate change on fisheries studied (2010). Erik Chapman. Fishermen's Voice 15(8):4-5, August 2010.
  • UNH, fishermen analyze WGOM closure impacts (2005). Ken La Valley. Commercial Fisheries News 33(4), December 2005.

CD/Video

  • 2013 N.H. lobster bands project (2013) (video). See N.H. Sea Grant's YouTube channel.
  • Fish to dish (2013) (video). See N.H. Sea Grant's YouTube channel.
  • N.H. Fresh and Local seafood (2013) (video). See N.H. Sea Grant's YouTube channel.

Information Sheet

  • What's going on with NH's clam harvesting opportunities? (2004). Candace Dolan.
  • Is there something fishy with this fish? (2007). Ken LaValley and Catherine Violette.
  • Refinements to the nordmore grate may increase shrimp selectivity (2005). Ken LaValley and Steve Adams.
  • Cooperative research gives new insights into yellowtail flounder (2006). Ken LaValley.
  • Onboard handling techniques key to higher quality and price (2006). Ken LaValley and Dana Morse.
  • Innovative technologies may provide alternatives for whale entanglement mitigation (2006). Ken LaValley.
  • Science and industry collaborate to reduce small shrimp catch (2007). Ken LaValley.
  • Climate change & fish populations (2010). Erik Chapman.
  • Economic impact of the N.H. seafood industry: opportunity for sustainability (2010). Matt Magnuson.
  • Skates of the western Gulf of Maine (2002). James Sulikowski.

Poster

  • Marketing locally caught seafood in New Hampshire (2014). Rebecca Zeiber.