Scallop boat
Feature Stories 2021: Learning about our seafood supply
Learning about our seafood supply

UMassD leads research collaborations with fishing industry leaders enhance the region’s marine economy

In the nation’s richest fishing port, a long-standing partnership between researchers at the School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) and local fisheries works to improve the health and sustainability of fisheries and the seafood supply.

Since 1999, Eastern Fisheries, Inc., headquartered in New Bedford, MA, has been essential in the development of Professor of Fisheries Oceanography Kevin Stokesbury’s drop camera survey—high-resolution cameras that descend to the ocean floor to collect data about distribution, abundance, and size of fish species, including local commodities scallop and cod. The data provides the New England Fisheries Management Council and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) with accurate estimates of the number of a particular species in surveyed areas, and aids fisheries stakeholders in better protecting and sustaining fisheries.

Eastern Fisheries is a global supply leader in the seafood industry and a source for some of the world’s largest seafood retailers, food service distributors, and wholesalers. Founded in 1978 by Roy Enoksen and Frank O’Hara, Eastern Fisheries has operations in the U.S., China, Europe, and Japan. Roy Enoksen, president of Eastern Fisheries, values SMAST’s impact on the industry. “SMAST has been a stalwart on conducting the sea scallop biomass surveys for the New England Fisheries Management Council and NMFS. Data from the survey gives a certain level of confidence in making management decisions on harvestable levels.”

“Teaming up with Eastern Fisheries helped develop the drop camera survey into a system that the industry can rely on,” said Stokesbury.

“From the start, they have supported this project, helping us build the technology and taking us to sea to run the surveys. The Captains, crews and shore support are outstanding. They also donate funds and made in-kind donations of food and fuel on our survey trips.”