National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries has awarded Dr. Steve Cadrin, Associate Professor at UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST), and Research Technician Crista Bank a $270,000 grant for their project “Estimating the Growth and Movement of Monkfish.”
The project involves tagging juvenile monkfish to help improve the growth estimates of monkfish, a critical parameter for the model used in the monkfish stock assessment, NOAA stated in its announcement of the award to SMAST.
The two-year study will build on previous research in an effort to estimate growth and movement of juvenile monkfish – one of the Greater Atlantic Region’s highest valued commercial finfish. A previous Research Set Aside (RSA) grant awarded to SMAST researchers found that the current approach of estimating monkfish growth is not valid, and identified a major source of uncertainty in the monkfish stock assessment.
This study proposes to address that uncertainty by employing commercial gillnet fishermen to tag approximately 2,500 juvenile monkfish that are caught and released. This process will then allow researchers to estimate growth, track movement patterns, and examine mixing rates between the southern and northern management areas.
Tagging will take place in inshore and offshore southern New England and Gulf of Maine waters throughout various times of the year.
The “Estimating the Growth and Movement of Monkfish” project addresses the goals of the 2016-2017 Monkfish RSA Program for structure/stock identification and implications for stock assessment and fisheries management, is a collaboration with monkfish fishermen, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, and is in coordination with the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils.