We conduct species-specific investigation into the physiology of bycaught fishes and their post-release survivability. Because fishes hold many distinguishing characteristics and appear to possess varying degrees of resiliency, this species-specific approach is vital.
Spiny Dogfish Bycatch
Spiny dogfish are a small species of coastal shark that is frequently captured as bycatch in several New England commercial and recreational fisheries. As with most sharks, spiny dogfish have a long gestation period, grow slowly and reproduce relatively infrequently. Reported population decreases have recently called attention to the need for conservation research about this species.
Western North Atlantic Skates
Seven species of skate are found in North Atlantic waters. These predatory, bottom-dwelling fishes are regularly caught as bycatch in commercial bottom longline and trawl fisheries. Recent studies have shown significant population declines for several North Atlantic skate species. We are the first to investigate the physiological effects and survival implications of skate bycatch in trawl fisheries.
The requiem shark group contains some of the best known sharks—including the tiger shark, bull shark and blue shark. Like most sharks, requiem sharks grow slowly, reproduce infrequently and have a long gestation period. This means that sharks may be more vulnerable to the negative effects of bycatch than other species of fish. We are investigating how and why different species respond differently to the stress of accidental capture in commercial New England fisheries. If different species succumb more readily, specific management strategies may be required.
The Atlantic cod was once the most important fish to commercial fisheries in New England. Intense commercial fishing pressure has led to severe population crashes in recent years. As a result, the commercial Atlantic cod fishery is now much reduced from historic levels. We investigate the effects of accidental capture on under-sized Atlantic cod in commercial trawl fisheries.