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NOAA grants to support scallop survey/bycatch avoidancescallops on sea floor

May 14, 2015‌

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded $534,660 to SMAST for research to benefit the sea scallop fishery, $373,922 to support “Broadscale Video Survey of Georges Bank Scallop Open Areas” (Prof. Kevin Stokesbury, PI), and $160,738 to fund “Scallop Fishery Bycatch Avoidance System 2015” (Dr. Catherine O’Keefe, PI).

The awards are granted through NOAA’s Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program, which reserves a portion of the scallop catch to fund research to advance the health and sustainability of the fishery.

In combination with a multi-year RSA grant awarded last year, the funds for Stokesbury’s group underwrite an industry-based video survey of the entire Georges Bank sea scallop resource area. The Bycatch Avoidance Program will use its award to administer a fleet communication network that alerts vessels to “hotspots,” where high yellowtail bycatch is occurring, thus helping ensure that the fishery does not exceed its yellowtail bycatch limit. SMAST will also conduct a comprehensive review of the bycatch avoidance network to evaluate program performance. 

Stokesbury keynotes international workshopKevin Stokesbury in suit

May 6, 2015

Prof. Kevin Stokesbury, Chair of SMAST’s Department of Fisheries Oceanography, delivered the keynote address “Marine protected areas and the US sea scallop fisheryat the 20th International Pectinid Workshop in Galway City, Ireland, on April 25.

In the words of the workshop organizing committee, “We are very fortunate to have Dr. Kevin Stokesbury attend and be a keynote speaker at this year’s IPW. Dr. Stokesbury, from the UMass-Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology in New Bedford, USA, is well respected for his innovative work in surveying scallops and groundfish by developing the SMAST Scallop Video Survey. SMAST’s creative, cooperative, and cost-effective approach to improving stock assessments through pioneering science ... was essential to transforming scallop surveys in the 1990s.”

Two other SMAST scientists presented research papers at the workshop. Research Associate Susan Inglis spoke on “Apicomplexan infection and gray meat in Atlantic sea scallops, Placopecten magellanicus . Dr. David Bethoney, also an SMAST Research Associate, presented “Extreme recruitment events in the United States sea scallop fishery.”

Long Island Sound hypoxia study funded

May 7, 2015Plum Island, Long Island Sound   ‌                                                                                                     

SMAST Professor Mark Altabet is leading one of three studies of Long Island Sound biogeochemistry administered by NOAA Sea Grant and funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The two-year program, already underway, also includes research groups from the University of Connecticut and Boston University.

Altabet, Chair of the UMass Dartmouth Department of Estuarine and Ocean Science, will use isotope geochemical techniques to examine the impact of recent changes in nitrogen inputs and oxygen levels due to upgrades to wastewater treatment plants.  Stable isotopes ratios enable scientists to distinguish among various sources of nitrogen (e.g., sewage, fertilizers, air emissions) and evaluate the importance of recycling and bacterial processes to the overall nitrogen budget of Long Island Sound.

Funding for the program totaling $843,424 is provided to the NOAA Sea Grant programs by EPA as part of the Long Island Sound Study, a cooperative effort between the EPA and the states of Connecticut and New York to restore and protect the Sound and its ecosystems. (Photo by Robert Burg.)