DEEP: Notice to Commercial Trawl Vessels

Notice to Commercial Trawl Vessels

July 31, 2012

GEAR TRIALS PROGRAM

The Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (CFRF) is announcing the establishment of a new program, the "Gear Trials Program" that combines financial assistance for the commercial fishing industry with cooperative research. Under the program, the CFRF will offer financial assistance to fishing vessel owners based in the southern New England region willing to install one or both of two new gear types on their fishing vessels and test their performances. The gear types are the 12" drop chain and the large mesh belly panel, designed to reduce winter flounder bycatch in the small mesh trawl fisheries. The intent is to provide industry members with an opportunity to try these gear types in a wide range of small mesh fishery applications (squid, whiting, scup) and report back their findings.

Qualifying criteria:
1. Must have a current, valid fishing permit (federal or state) for use in small mesh fisheries (e.g. squid, whiting, scup).
2. Must be a resident of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or New York.
3. Must have active fishing history in small mesh fisheries within the timeframe of January 2010 to the present. This will be demonstrated by submittal of VTR or state logbook entries for 3 separate fishing trips at sea indicating the following: 
   a. Landings for species in small mesh trawl fisheries (e.g. squid, whiting, scup) 
   b. Small mesh fishing activity in one or more of the following statistical areas: #537, #538,#539, #611, #612, #613.

Rules for participating in program:
1. Voucher must be used only for one or both of the gear types covered by the program.
2. Voucher only valid at participating gear suppliers within the program. (Refer to www.geartrials.org)
3. Need to be willing to report back observations (by survey form or interview) on monthly basis.
4. Voucher recipient can elect to stop using gear (after one time) but will need to report back why.
5. Only one voucher for each gear type issued per fishing vessel issued to the owner (but may be used by captain and/or crew member with presentation of issued voucher ID number at participating gear suppliers).
6. Need to use voucher by Monday, April 1, 2013, after which time voucher will expire.
7. Fishing vessels will keep gear.

Amount of vouchers:
Large Mesh Belly Panel for all size fishing vessels = $400
Drop Chain:
a. Smaller fishing vessel category (< 500 HP) = $450
b. Larger fishing vessel category (>500 HP) = $800

How to apply for vouchers:
Potential participants can apply online at: www.geartrials.org

Applications must be submitted by Monday December 31, 2012.

RESEARCH COMPONENT:
The CFRF will also be seeking to contract two comparable fishing vessels to work with the research team from the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Marine Program to conduct further at sea comparison tows.

Criteria for consideration is as follows: 60-70 fishing vessel, willing to fish in the Deep Hole east of Block Island or southwest of Block Island in the whiting fishery, 450-600 HP.

If interested, fishing vessel owners can apply online at www.geartrials.org by August 31, 2012.

Additional information about the program can be obtained at the program website at www.geartrials.org or by contacting:

Jane S. Dickinson, Administrative Assistant
Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation
P.O. Box 278
Saunderstown, RI 02874
Email: jdickinson@cfrfoundation.org
Phone: (401)515-4892
Fax: (401)515-3537
www.cfrfoundation.org

(12-26)