Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Can Gillnets Raised Off The Sea-bed Keep Fishermen on the Water?

With cuts in cod quota, fishermen are showing their typical innovation to come up with new ways to avoid cod while continuing to catch species they continue to fish - and fish sustainably.  Most gear selectivity work has focused on modifying trawl gear - but why not work with gillnets?  That's just what fishermen in NH, Port Clyde and elsewhere suspected and with the help of GEARNET, they've started looking at a few different ideas on the water...


Jayson Driscoll (FV Sweet Misery, Rye, NH) has been working with the experimental gillnets
Beginning in the next few weeks, New Hampshire gillnet fishermen will be testing the effectiveness of gillnets raised 4’ off the bottom to reduce the catch of cod while maintaining a profitable catch of other, more abundant, species. These nets have shown promise for doing just that, and testing this year will expand the test-nets to more realistic conditions.

Two test nets have been constructed, each with five experimental 300’ strings raised 4’ off the sea-bed and five 300’ standard strings not raised off the seabed.  

The New Hampshire fishermen will share the experimental gear within New Hampshire’s Groundfish Sectors XI and XII during the experiment.  The fishermen are waiting for the fall, when greater numbers of fish should be around to test the relative selectivity of the standard and experimental nets.  

This project is paired with a similar effort out of Port Clyde, ME that also will be testing the alternative gillnet design.


It’s certainly been a busy and challenging fishing season, but these, and other projects offer a glimpse of the innovative and resilient spirit that is echoed throughout the Northeast.   Return here to track the progress of these and other GEARNET projects!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing uses of Gear Net. You've made a really valuable discovery. I too had the same curiosity about these fishing nets.Great source of information about the new hampshire fishermen will share the experimental gear with in groundfish sectors.

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