We analyze the concentration of blood components such as electrolytes in blood collected from non-legal and/or juvenile bycatch. These results are used to assess how the capture process affects fish.

Spiny Dogfish

Our study investigated spiny dogfish physiological stress and post-release survival following otter trawl capture. Collaboration with commercial fishing vessels ensured authentic fishing practices. Survival was determined by keeping spiny dogfish in experimental pens for 72 hours after the trawl. To document physiological changes endured by the fish, blood samples were obtained throughout the study. The study’s results suggested that post-release survival is high, despite marked physiological changes induced by trawl capture. Such findings bode well for dogfish populations, which experience high rates of incidental capture and release.

Western North Atlantic Skates

Our work is the first to assess how the seven species of North Atlantic skates respond to and survive accidental capture in the trawl fishery. The study encompasses a broader array of stress parameters than have been previously utilized in any elasmobranch (shark, skate or ray) project. These measures include physical trauma, findings from necropsy/pathology reports, blood physiology/endocrinology and molecular components. The goal is to establish predictive models for fishing mortality across the different species of the skates from the family Rajidae.

Requiem Sharks

In collaboration with researchers at the University of New England and Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, this study assesses the status of different coastal sharks caught as bycatch by longline fisheries. If different species succumb more readily, specific management strategies may be required. The study is also exploring the reasons why many closely related species display such extreme coping variability.

Atlantic Cod

We investigated the blood chemistry and mortality rate of under-sized Atlantic cod accidentally captured in the New England longline fishery.