UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) Professor Pingguo He has received a $205,000 award from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service for the project for "Avoiding Overfished Flounders: Testing of Low Seabed Impact of Semi-Pelagic Trawling Technology for Groundfish on the Georges Bank." The proposed project will design and test a low seabed impact semi-pelagic trawling technology for the New England groundfish to significantly reduce the catch of overfished yellowtail, winter and windowpane flounders on Georges Bank.
The design includes the use of semi-pelagic trawl doors and floating synthetic ground cables to reduce seabed contact of groundfish trawls. The technology has the potential to assist commercial fishermen reduce harvest of low quota fish, while catching more abundance species, such as such as haddock and Pollock in Georges Bank and redfish and hake in the northeast. The technology is currently used in the North Pacific for Alaskan pollock and in Norway for Atlantic cod. The project is a collaborative initiative, which includes university and state scientists, in addition to the contributors from the gear technology and fishing industry.
In February, Professor He was appointed to serve as Chair of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Working Group on Fishing Technology and Fish Behavior (WGFTFB). ICES is a global organization, with a network of more than 4000 scientists, from almost 300 institutes. ICES sciences are carried out by Expert Groups, covering all topics related to ocean and marine sciences.
The focus at SMAST is on interdisciplinary basic-to-applied marine sciences and the development of related innovative technologies. In addition to the scholarly marine science and technology communities, the SMAST mission also emphasizes interaction with regional industry, and government and non-governmental agencies on compelling regional marine-related issues and technological development.