In 2014 researchers at UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST) and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries received a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant to continue their successful portside sampling and river herring avoidance program. Funding for the grant is dependent upon Research Set Aside Atlantic herring being caught. This year the conditions did not arise for Research Set Aside Atlantic herring to be caught, but the companies involved in the program donated $67,000 to continue the collaborative research project
The project provides near-real-time communications systems to help fishermen avoid areas where they are likely to catch river herring erroneously. “This support shows our industry collaborators are committed to a program that increases the monitoring of their fishery and promotes best practices in regards to river herring catch limits,” said David Bethoney, research assistant professor at SMAST.
Since 2010, Bethoney along with Brad Schondelmeier and Bill Hoffman of the Division of Marine Fisheries have worked with the mid-water trawl fleet to increase the accuracy of river herring incidental catch estimates by sampling mid-water trawl vessels at a high rate.