Location: Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island
Collaborators: Jeremy Collie, Steve Barber (URI); Matt Zimmerman (FarSounder Inc.); Jason McNamee (RI Department of Environmental Management)
Lab Personnel: Lauren Josephs
Goal: Develop a methodology using 3-D forward-looking hydroacoustic sonar to estimate Atlantic menhaden and herring (pelagic species) biomass.
Significance: The results will improve food-web models and Rhode Island fisheries management by establishing a pilot pelagic fish survey for Narragansett Bay, as well as further the development of new fisheries sampling products and technologies.
Background: Estimating the number of individual fish in a given stock is one of the most fundamental yet challenging aspects of fisheries management. In Rhode Island, Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) is a commercially important pelagic fishery that supports a large industry, yet management is difficult because reliable and adequate data are lacking; while local existing fisheries surveys do a good job of sampling bottom-dwelling species, they are poorly suited for accurately assessing pelagic species. New technology that can reliably estimate pelagic fish biomass and identify species would lead to better fisheries management and reduce bycatch of threatened species such as blueback river herring (Alosa aestivalis). Furthermore, such technologies would be useful for the science and fishing industry to save time and money. Thus, we are conducting a proof-of-concept for using 3-D forward-looking sonar in our local waters.
Funding: Rhode Island Research Alliance (STAC), US National Science Foundation (NSF)