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  Awards to support gear design/eddy research

October 6, 2014Amit Tandon and Pingguo He

SMAST Professor Pingguo He [right, top] has received a $205K award from NOAA’s National ‌Marine Fisheries Service for "Avoiding Overfished Flounders: Testing of Low Seabed Impact of Semi-Pelagic Trawling Technology for Groundfish on the Georges Bank." 

The project will design and test trawling gear innovations to reduce seabed impact for the New England groundfish fishery, while significantly reducing the catch of the so-called “choke” species of flounder: yellowtail, winter and windowpane. 

Similar technology is successfully used in the North Pacific for Alaskan pollock and in Norway for Atlantic cod.  The project is a collaborative initiative involving university and state scientists and contributors from the gear technology and fishing industries.

In a separate award, UMass Dartmouth Professor Amit Tandon [right, bottom] (Mech. Eng./SMAST) has received $324K from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his part in collaborative research on the "Role of Mixed Layer Eddies on Phytoplankton Productivity in Seasonally Variable Regimes."

The total award is for $1.1 million over four years, with the remainder supporting the research of collaborator Dr. Amala Mahadevan of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The investigators will contribute to outreach efforts, including teacher training and ocean literacy workshops through the Ocean Academy at the Ocean Explorium in New Bedford.

NOAA economist to be SMAST Visiting Scholar

John Walden portrait

October 17, 2014‌

John Walden, an economist with NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center‌(NEFSC) in Woods Hole, has been appointed to the Social Sciences Visiting Scholar position at SMAST. He is replacing Min-Yang Lee, who has returned full-time to his duties in Woods Hole. John has been on staff at the NEFSC since 1987.

Over the past 15 years, John has built an internationally recognized research program focused on measuring technical efficiency, capacity and productivity in commercial fisheries. He has developed research collaborations with faculty at a number of universities, as well as with the USDA Economic Research Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.

This summer, John organized fishery sessions at both the North American Productivity Workshop, and the Asia-Pacific Productivity Conference. Additionally, he led the national effort by NOAA Fisheries to measure capacity in commercial fisheries in response to a request from Congress, and more recently developed productivity metrics which were applied to U.S. catch share fisheries.

John will be co-teaching a class with Prof. Dan Georgianna in the spring semester. He also plans to develop a fully on-line course, offered through SMAST, on fisheries economics for policy decisions.

  O'Keefe receives Young Alumni Award

November 10, 2014                                                                                                        

SMAST Research Associate Dr. Catherine ‘Cate’ O’Keefe was awarded the UMass Dartmouth Young Cate O'Keefe at podiumAlumni Award last Thursday at a ceremony at the Carney Library.

Cate’s most noted accomplishment, based on her dissertation research, offers a solution to a major problem in fisheries: “bycatch.”

New Bedford’s $600 million scallop fishery inadvertently catches flounders, but the flounder stocks have been overfished and are strictly regulated.  So, when the scallop fleet reaches the limit of flounder bycatch, the scallop season officially ends. And in fact, from 2006 to 2009, the scallop fishery was closed early because it approached the flounder bycatch limit, costing the fleet approximately $60 million.

In the words of SMAST Prof. Steve Cadrin, who introduced Cate at the ceremony, “Cate worked closely with scallop fishermen to develop an information sharing system which [enables] fishermen to avoid bycatch hotspots.”  

“The program was implemented in 2010, and the scallop fleet was allowed to stay open the entire year to catch their entire scallop allocation, while only catching one third of their bycatch limit,” Cadrin reported. “So it was a conservation success as well as an economic success. 

Cate is now working locally and abroad to share her research with other fisheries to solve their bycatch problems.