Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fisheries Roundtable: communications

“All I want to do is to be heard. I want a voice,” a commercial fishermen told a panel of speakers from the NOAA Fisheries and NEFMC communications teams. The panel was part of a Fisheries Roundtable discussion at the Hampton Public Library on November 10th, 2011. The Fisheries Roundtable discussion — co-hosted by the Northeast Consortium and N.H. Sea Grant — focused communications within the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Regional Office and the New England Fishery Management Council and with fishermen, providing a forum for fishermen to talk candidly about what might improve communication between the three groups.

Alison McHale, leader of the outreach and communications team for the NOAA Fisheries Service Northeast Regional Office, began by explaining that NOAA’s four communications program areas include outreach (coordinating public meetings, developing outreach material and guidance documents), education, media (news releases and alerts), and internal communication (briefing documents for NOAA, DOC and Congress).

McHale said that NOAA Northeast Regional Office is working on a “Plain Language Campaign” that necessitates simpler language, brevity and an emphasis on visually displayed information for all their documents, including permit holder letters. The campaign is expected to begin in early 2012. NOAA also developed an interactive website called Fish-on-Line that allows fishermen to check their landings from the last six months and review individual data sets. McHale said the site will eventually include more outreach information, operational and technical guidance and data. Some audience members suggested this web site should include an FAQ section or a box for fishermen to ask their questions, but the general reaction included positive feedback about the site. For more information, please visit the web site: https://www.nero.noaa.gov/NMFSlogin/login/login

McHale mentioned that her team was considering use of social media, technology for smartphones and iPads, focusing on web stories rather than traditional press releases and interactive online tools. While some of these plans could be useful to a certain cross-section of the commercial fishing fleet, attendees noted that cell phones do not work out at sea. With the average age of fishermen increasing, attendees felt that developing smartphone apps and social media should not be a priority.

“I don’t care about technology,” stated one commercial fisherman in the audience. “But I want an equal partnership between fishermen and NOAA.” He suggested that each group should function as a board, with a board of fishermen and a board of NOAA staffers that interact with each other. That, he said, would produce more effective change in communication than developing a new smartphone app.

NOAA keeps a hotline open for fishermen to call with any questions they might have about various species or management rules for New England waters. However, the hotline is only open during regular business hours and it often takes a while until fishermen receive the answer they need. One fisherman suggested a 24-hour hotline might be more useful for those in the fishing industry who work unusual hours.

Some fishermen in the audience expressed their frustration with the new management regulations and the technology they are expected to adopt that sometimes does not work properly and thus can cause delays and lost wages.

“The tools you want us to use don’t even work right,” one fisherman said to the NOAA panel speakers. “Fishermen can’t even leave the dock. That’s such a basic problem and you’re not even listening,” he added.

Pat Fiorelli, Public Affairs Officer of The New England Fishery Management Council, discussed ways to create positive change at Council meetings to maximize collaboration and simplify communication. Even a simple change like serving coffee during the breaks on each Council meeting day could encourage Council members and staff to engage meeting attendees, Fiorelli said. Other suggested changes include holding an informal social hour, posting Council member bios online and enhancing their meeting management skills.

It might be worthwhile, one attendee noted, to convene ad hoc meetings or boards based on issues to parse out the variables to ensure the different viewpoints are expressed and heard by the Council. With hundreds of fishermen in the fisheries, a lot of voices can go unheard.

Audience members mentioned the difficulty of keeping track of the numerous acronyms used in the meetings and requested that a concise glossary of acronyms should be made available at Council meetings and online. In addition, all public meetings should be recorded and put online or broadcasted live so people do not have to travel and physically attend the meetings to find out the latest information about fisheries management issues.

As the dialogue transitioned to the role of stock assessment and computer models in establishing fisheries regulations, some attendees noted that there are discrepancies between what fishermen see on the water and what scientists estimate for population changes. It should be a two-way street between the scientists and fishermen, a few audience members said, and NOAA staffers might benefit from spending time on fishing boats to experience the reality of the management rules they create and enforce.

“We had over two hours of honest and constructive dialogue," said Roundtable coordinator Rachel Feeney from the Northeast Consortium. "The Regional Office and Council are making great strides to improve communications, and we were able to exchange a lot of good feedback and ideas,” she added.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fishtival 2011

A few scenes from this year's Fishtival:

Fish printing in the style of Gyotaku, a fun activity for the kids. They chose some great colors for the flounder!

The final product from the UNH Marine Docents' Build a Sailboat in a Weekend workshop--a 12' Oyster River Cat.

Boat tours were offered to show the inner workings of real commercial fishing boats.

Aside from tasty food, the Fishtival provided plenty of opportunities for folks to really see the fish found in New England waters, many of which we eat. A Fishtival volunteer shows kids the tail end of a bluefin tuna and other fish they could touch.

Some crabs and sea stars were on display.

Monkfish/goosefish are a type of anglerfish that use their pectoral fins to "walk" along the bottom of the ocean. They also have a long filament they can dangle from the top of their heads to lure prey into their large mouths.

Thanks to everyone who made the Fishtival a success once again this year!

Friday, September 9, 2011

September 8, 2011, AFS Seattle. Electronic frontiers in fisheries.

The final session that I attended this week profiled what Gil Sylvia, an economist from Oregon State University, refers to as the third of a three-part revolution in fisheries. The first part is the movement toward sustainable fishing practices and fully rebuilt fish stocks. The second is the shift toward catch share or property rights in fisheries. The final part is the movement toward a completely electronic form of reporting in real-time of fishing activity from fishermen to managers. This is what Gil and a long list of other scientists, programmers and members of the fishing industry gathered to talk about during the "Electronic Frontieres in Fisheries" Symposium.

The third revolution will enable a centralized data-management system with access nodes that can be used by fishermen, managers, fish marketers, fisheries scientists, and consumers. Amazingly, this type of system is already up and running off the coast of Washington and Oregon. The system can be used by fishermen to understand, in real-time, when and where threatened stocks of salmon are being caught; information that allows fishermen to avoid those areas thus conserving endangered stocks and allowing them to continue to fish populations that are doing well. Fisheries scientists are using the system to access data that they will analyze to improve their understand fish biology and ecology. The fish caught in the fishery are even given an ID tag so consumers can see where, when and who caught the fish they buy at the market......pretty amazing and powerful stuff, and a huge improvement on a system where redundant reporting on hand-written forms can drive fishermen (and managers) crazy.

The old system is confusing, labor intensive and lends itself to mistakes and errors. Plus, the information under the old system takes one-way path to managers, and the opportunity to USE that information for the benefit of the fishermen and the local community is lost. For more information on the project that Gil Sylvia has been working on with lots of other people, visit: http://pacificfishtrax.org/
Although much of the day was spent discussing the technological and practical challenges of implementing such a system (not the least of which are transmitting the data from the boats and the interest and technological capacity of fishermen), a number of different groups, including The Nature Conservancy, and private fishing industry members, are developing the software and hardware to begin implementing these types of systems on all coasts of the U.S.

One of the most interesting talks, however was presented by Catherine O'Keefe, a PhD student at the University of Massachussetts at Dartmouth (student of Dr. Steve Cadrin) who has used low-tech methods to provide real-time information on the distribution of yellow-tail flounder (rare species) to scallop fishermen. The scientists on the project did this by making a gridded map and having the fishermen provide information on where they caught yellow-tail flounder through email from the boats. The scientists compiled this information and provided fast-response warning about the location of "hot spots" where yellow-tail flounder were caught. Fishermen used this information to avoid these areas and have substantially reduced their catch of yellow-tail flounder. This is important for the conservation of the species AND the fishermen because the flounder remain in the water and because the fishermen must stop fishing for scallops once they catch their allotted quota of yellow-tail flounder.

-Erik Chapman

Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 8, 2011 - AFS Seattle. Cognitive ecology, fish behavior and fisheries....

This morning, I went to a series of presentations in the field of fish cognitive ecology. These scientists are engaged in questions relating to how fish behavior determines the distribution and abundance of fish populations. This is extremely important for understanding how fish populations interact with their environment which is critical information for successful fisheries management. Dr. Victoria Braithwaite from Pennsylvania State University began the discussions, outlining ideas and research around how fish make decisions based on their orientation to physical features in their environment. Dr. James Anderson from the Univeristy of Washington followed with a presentation on how fish learn and why they decide to move between foraging areas. Other presenters began to discuss how fish communicate information about the location of food by observing the behavior and the changing condition of their neighbors.  Later talks discussed the exchange of information within and between schools of fish. 

Another interesting session at a great meeting!
-Erik Chapman

September 7, 2011 - AFS Seattle. Dr. Brian Rothchild outlines recommendations for fisheries management and catch shares

Dr. Brian Rothchild of the University of Massachussetts at Dartmouth made some interesting points and suggestions during his talk yesterday during the Catch Shares Symposium. First, he suggested that for catch share systems to be effective, they need an efficient support institution that provides a cost effective information system. The information systems available today in many fisheries are not capable of keeping up with the rigorous reporting demands of catch share system. This creates alot of problems for fishermen, dealers, and fish managers. He also suggests that catch share systems should incorporate structures that limit the number of "slipper skippers" or fishermen who lease their quota each year, making money without ever taking their boats out on the water. He also emphasized that implementing a catch share system requires a great deal of time and patience, something that was not afforded to the Northeast groundfish sector management system that was implemented after a brief, one-year planning period despite the protests of fishermen and the Northeast Fisheries Management Council. Dr. Rothchild also emphasized the importance of communicating the philosophy behind the catch share system to industry representatives and listening to the groups that will be most effected by the system.

He also floated the idea of developing a dedicated National Institute that we develop new strategies for using ocean weather and climate information to forecast stock variability. He feels that this type of institute would be able to capitalize on our improving understanding of the role that climate plays in fish population dynamics to improve management. An interesting idea to say the least!

-Erik Chapman

September 7, 2011, Seattle AFS. Hilborn urges fishermen to embrace catch shares.

Yesterday, Ray Hilborn, a controversial and high profile fisheries scientists at the University of Washington, wrapped up the Catch Shares Symposium at the AFS Meeting by urging people to embrace the catch shares system. He lived up to his reputation and stirred the pot by saying that anthropologists and sociologists should stop "whining" about some of the challenges presented by catch shares to fishing communities. He also emphasized that catch shares is a very broad term that can mean many things and is a system that is flexible enough to adapt to a particular fishery. He said that it is not a perfect system, but "pretty good" and that it is the best alternative for the majority of today's fisheries. Dr. Hilborn made an interesting point - that catch shares, because they essentially enforce "who can fish and who cannot", were similar to the enforcement of the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone which forced foreign fishermen out of US Coastal waters and was universally applauded by the US fishing industry. Hilborn also claimed that we must accept that fishing jobs and vessels are going to be lost - regardless of how fisheries are managed - simply because the US fishing fleet is too big as a result of the recent regulatory history of the industry.
Dr. Hilborn responded to critics of catch shares who claim that they destroy fishing communities by emphasizing that there are opportunities to combine community development with catch share programs. He also made the point that it is difficult to disentangle the effects of catch share systems with other outside forces that were going to affect fisheries and fishing communities.
Unfortunately, this talk came at the end of the day. I got the feeling that the group in the room could have discussed his comments into the night. It would have been very interesting to hear that discussion - one that those involved in sustainable marine fisheries will be a part of as we move forward.
-Erik Chapman

September 7, 2011- Seattle, AFS. Beware of media coverage of fisheries!

Have you ever been confused by the media's coverage of fisheries and their impact on marine ecosystems? Chances are, you've been drawn to headlines with shocking statements about the global state of the world's oceans. Sometimes, the headlines are contradictory. Are the oceans dieing, or are fish stocks recovering? Jennifer Jacquet, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, gave a really interesting talk yesterday that took a close look at how media covers fisheries science.  Often media articles reflect information presented in a press release by a University communications office, a private organization, or the scientist his or herself - and this is the important part - before they have been peer-reviewed. Dr. Jacquet gave several examples where media reported science that had not been peer-reviewed and where the same media outlet alternately presented scientific results that indicated opposite trends in global fisheries stocks. She suggested that journalistic standards should emphasize careful reading of peer-reviewed science and that some standards should be used to present scientific research as having "global" implications (often global implications are indicated by media based on research in a small area). Obviously, these standards are difficult to enforce in the highly competetive 24hr news cycle.

Nevertheless, these are all extremely important points that highlight our need to be more demanding of media coverage of science.   Dr. Jacquet highlights the need for careful reading of science presented in the media, and for objective and careful communication of science through objective sources. There is growing interest in fisheries in the general public, but also a growing level of confusion about marine ecosystems and fishing. The need for high-quality sources of information are more important than ever. But where will these trusted sources of information come from?

-Erik Chapman

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

AFS - Wednesday, September 7 - Permit Banks and New England Fishermen

"Catch shares" fisheries management includes Limited Access Priviledge Programs (LAPP) and individual quota programs that allocate a secure amount of fish to individuals, cooperatives, or communities. Catch shares allow fishermen to fish, sell, or trade their quota whenever they want in a given year. This theoretically allows fishermen more flexibility in their operations, reduces a "race" to catch fish (often dangerous), and allows them to time their catch according to market fluctuations in order to maximize their profits. Catch share management is expanding to new fisheries every year as it has become a popular choice among managers for achieving more efficient, safe, and productive sustainable fisheries. However, these programs are extremely controversial and the strengths and weaknesses of catch shares are hotly contested. At the very least, catch share management represents a dramatic change in fisheries management that challenges fishermen to adapt. Today, at the AFS meeting, 28 talks were given on catch share programs, outlining their sucesses and failures.

Among the problems associated with catch share programs is that it tends to promote consolidation of the fishing fleet into the larger boats, as smaller day boats have a more difficult time turning a profit in the new system. The reasons for this are many and they are complex. One approach to addressing this problem is through establishing permit banks, which are a collection of fishing permits that can be held by a private or governement entity. Today, Michael Pentony from NOAA presented the current permit bank program that allows Northeastern states to hold a permit bank. Six million dollars were given to these states to establish permit banks; 3 million to Maine, and 1 million each to Massachussetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. This money is intended to be used to purchase fishing permits that will provide quota that can then be leased out to fishermen at a reduced cost. Theoretically, this will prevent consolidation by providing more fish quota to smaller boats. Maine has already bought permits and sold quota to fishermen, while NH, MA, and RI are still organizing their programs. But will this help smaller boats compete with larger boats that can have higher fish allocations and more resources for purchasing quota? Only time will tell.

For more information on Catch shares, visit www.nmfs.noaa.gov/catchshares

-Erik Chapman

AFS - Seattle, September 6 - Connecting Climate Science to Fisheries Management

Well, that's an interesting challenge! Climate scientists, ecosystem modelers, and fisheries biologists and managers came together here at the AFS meeting in Seattle yesterday to discuss the challenges facing managers as they try to incorporate climate science in management. It became clear through the course of the presentations that there is broad consensus that climate influences fisheries, and that we would like to get to a place where we can understand these linkages well enough to predict the future. However, it also became clear that we have a long way to go to get there!
Anne Hollowed, from the National Marine Fisheries Service in Alaska, discussed how climate can influence the phenology of ecosystem events, the distribution of species, species interactions, and species vital rates. Ultimately, all of the complex physical, biological, ecological, and physiological interactions must be considered in predicting the influence of climate on ecosystems.
A more specific example was given by Jeff Napp (Univ. Washington) who explained that in the Bering Sea, scientists understand that physical processes, in particular sea ice, structure the marine ecosystem. He described a system where climate variability drives changes in marine communities that oscillates between two very different states (for more information, go to www.bsierp.nprb.org). This information has been used alongside traditional stock indices to inform management for Alaskan Pollock. This is one of the only examples I'm aware of where ecosystem indices inform management.
Michael Alexander, from NOAAs Earth Systems Laboratory, brought things to a larger, and longer scale and explained that climate predictions come with a great deal of uncertainty, that is compounded by our incomplete knowledge of climate systems, marine ecology, and the connections between the two. He emphasized that the same climate models run over a longer time period, predict very different outcomes for the same location. Charlie Stock, from NOAA's Princeton, GeoFluid Dynamics Lab, emphasized how difficult it is to predict climate 10+ years down the road.
So, where do we go from here? The group discussed where "low" and "high" hanging fruit might be found. It was suggested that scientists may want to focus on short-term predictions rather than a longer-term response to climate change although it is unclear which is more challenging! In the mean time, it seems that the use of climate and ecosystem indices described by Jeff Napp in the Bering Sea gives us a good model of how climate science can inform management today - I wonder if there are other examples where our knowledge of climate and marine ecosystems is good enough to inform management as well?
-Erik Chapman

AFS Meeting is Underway!

I arrived in Seattle yesterday morning and after a brief light-rail transit to downtown from the airport, I was finally able to take a seat at this year's American Fisheries Society meeting.  The weather has been sunny and unseasonably warm (almost 90F!).  On days like these, Mt. Rainier towers over this beautiful city inspiring thoughts of hiking and camping, or at least a trip to REI!   I did my best to sort of ignore all of that, take a deep breath of the ocean-air, and head into the Washington State Convention Center which was buzzing with over 4,000 attendees.  People have come from all over the world to be here to take in the latest contributions and discussions around emerging and continuing hot-topics in sustainable marine fisheries.  I love this meeting because is touches on my many of my broad interests in this field.  There are sessions dedicated to fish biology, ecology and oceanography and sessions focusing on management.  

Yesterday, I attended a session titled, "Connecting Climate Science to Fisheries Management and Ecology in a Changing World."  Today, I'll split time between "Catch Share Programs in the U.S. Commercial Fisheries" and "Adaptability of Fish Life Histories."  Tomorrow, I may split time between "Cognitive, Sensory, and Behavioral Frontiers Exploring Fish Movement and Habitat Use" and "Electronic Frontiers in Fisheries Management - Log Books and Real Time Fishery Information Systems - Case Studies."  For more information on the program, go to:  http://afs2011.org/

I will do my best to provide updates here.  Gotta run to the 8:00am start!

-Erik Chapman

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Putting your business on the digital map

With all the tourists visiting the Seacoast this summer, it's a safe bet that many of them will touch the screen of their smartphone to find a local eatery that offers fresh seafood rather than flip through the local phone book.

Many of the attendees are also participating in the lobster TAA.

Shane Bradt, geospatial extension specialist for UNH Cooperative Extension, presented information on how to put businesses on the digital map, giving fishermen and small businessmen the opportunity to reach new clients who are increasingly tech-savvy. Approximately 30 fishermen and small business owners attended the Fisheries Roundtable discussion on June 13th from 6-8 p.m. at the Portsmouth Public Library, co-hosted by the Northeast Consortium and N.H. Sea Grant.

For many business owners, marketing products and services to the public in the digital age can be confusing due to the increasing number of options and that pace at which they are changing, explained Bradt.

He said that while there is still value in traditional forms of advertising--in newspapers, flyers, phone book listings or roadside ads--the trend is turning away from these and is focused more on computer-based information via the Internet on your home computer, your car's GPS system, or on the new smartphones that you carry with you wherever you go.

"It's important to get your business listed correctly on online maps so people can find you," Bradt said. "Even if you personally don't have a smartphone, many of your potential clients may have one."

Bradt said that as of July 2010, there were approximately 53.4 million smartphone users int he U.S., and projections estimate that smartphone users will outnumber "feature" cell phone users--those without Internet access--by late this year.

"This represents a seismic shift in the way people find and access information," he said.

Smartphones take advantage of GPS devices and online map databases to provide suggestions for, say, restaurants that serve lobster, and then provide directions for you to walk or drive there. For the technologically savvy, this on-the-go information is handy to quickly and easily find what they're looking for. For fishermen looking to connect with new markets and dealers, this is an easy way to get their business information listed with little or not cost to them.

For the small business owner or fisherman looking to direct more business through his or her door, getting business information into the most relevant databases is imperative. Taking the time to list your business online ensures that your clients have accurate information about your services and how to find you. And, Bradt added, it's best to list your business information in a variety of databases to ensure it shows up in the myriad computer devices available to the public.

At the end of Bradt's presentation, he suggested nine databases in which to enter business information for free: InfoUSA, Localeze, NavTeq, SuperPages, TeleAtlas, Bing, Google Maps, Yahoo Maps and MapQuest. Computers were available for workshop attendees to begin listing their business information with help from Bradt and Erik Chapman, a fisheries extension specialist for N.H. Sea Grant. Bradt and Chapman are pictured here helping out Scott Bailey from Port Norris, N.J.

For more information about listing your business online, please contact Shane Bradt at 603-862-4277 or sbradt@unh.edu.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

NH Sea Grant/UNH Cooperative Extension and Blue Ocean Society Take Steps to Reduce Marine Debris

The NH Sea Grant and Blue Ocean Society have joined together to create the Marine Debris to Energy Project in an effort to reduce the amount of debris that is either thrown away as waste or ends up in the marine environment. One of the debris materials that the project is focusing on is monofilament fishing line. Fishing line takes up to 600 years to decompose and can have many negative impacts on a variety of marine wildlife when improperly disposed of in the environment. Hundreds of fish, birds and even land animals are harmed every year due to entanglement. When wildlife become entangled in or ingest monofilament, it can result can be the loss of the animal’s flippers, tails, or wings and can cause drowning, starvation, and death. Boat propellers can even get entangled in discarded monofilament line, causing costly repairs for boat owners.

To effectively address the issue of monofilament fishing line, NH Sea Grant and the Blue Ocean have directed efforts on collaborating with charter fishing companies, marinas, and bait and tackle shops in Portsmouth, Rye, Seabrook and Hampton. These businesses have been asked to participate by allowing collection bins to be placed at marinas, shops, or directly on fishing vessels. Any excess or used monofilament fishing line can be thrown into the collection bins rather than being tossed in the trash or left at risk of entering the environment. When the collection bins have been filled they are picked up by organization staff members so that the monofilament fishing line can be recycled. The project is cost free to anyone who chooses to participate. If you would like to learn more information about the project please visit the NH Marine Debris to Energy Project website: http://cecf1.unh.edu/debris/.

In addition to the project created by NH Sea Grant and the Blue Ocean Society, another program, the Stow It – Don’t Throw It Project has been created by Sean Russell. This project works with youth to create and distribute personal-sized monofilament fishing line recycling bins as a way to reduce marine debris. More information on the Stow It – Don’t Throw It Project can be found at http://www.stowitdontthrowitproject.org/index.html.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

NH Sea Grant begins GREEN-FIT Project to Address Fuel Savings

Although fuel prices have started to drop just a bit the past couple of weeks, recent upward trends in diesel prices have sent a warning shot across the bow of New England’s fishing fleet. “Operational costs are crushing us,” explains David Goethel, a Hampton, NH fisherman. “Fuel is now up a dollar from last year and the price of fish is down a dollar.” While fishermen are exploring ways like direct marketing to increase the value of their catch, many are also looking at ways to reduce the input costs to their businesses. Goethel explains, “This situation puts us on a collision course with disaster and we’re looking to save money any way we can.”
New Hampshire Sea Grant and University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, recently began a project with David Goethel and Jeff Steele, of Global Marine Consulting to do just that. This project , supported by the Northeast Consortium will utilize the expertise of Jeff Steele, to consult with fishermen and look for and implement modifications to their vessel that will reduce fuel and operational costs. Steele “is best known for refitting the FV Time Bandit made famous from television reality show, “Deadliest Catch” with fuel-efficient and other modifications that improve emissions and operational costs (a Green-fit). Improving existing vessels in this way is part of that Steele refers to as his “Go-Green Vessel” program which he feels will help todays' fishing fleet prepare for the future. “Over the next decade the boats themselves will not change much as new more efficient hulls are too costly to build, so the "older" fleet will continue. Some vessels will be re-powered but the majority will continue with the older engines due to the high cost of new engines. The opportunity is to provide the technologies and equipment to "upgrade" the current fleet."

The Geen-Fit Program
The Green-Fit project is based on the idea that people are more likely to adopt a new way of doing things when they are able to see people they know, who are doing things like them, have success with a new approach. In that spirit, Jeff Steele will Green-Fit David Goethel’s trawling vessel (FV Ellen Diane) with a number of modifications that are designed to improve operational efficiency and the environmental footprint while David fishes. The Green-Fit will serve as a platform for exploring both behavioral and technical options for improving the fuel economy of the bottom-trawl industry. Modifications will include a hydrogen fuel injection system, a fuel filtration system and a by-pass oil filtration system. The hydrogen fuel injection system uses electricity from the boat to separate hydrogen and oxygen from water and inject the hydrogen into the ignition system improving the engine’s combustion system. Burning the fuel more efficiently has the added benefit of reducing emissions. These modifications could improve Goethel’s fuel use by up to 30%. The by-pass oil filtration system will lengthen the life of engine oil, reducing the frequency that he must pay for oil changes. This could save him 80% of the costs that he would otherwise spend on new oil and for the oil changes. “David may never need to change his oil again” Steele proclaims. The by-pass oil filtration system costs just over $1,000.00 and the hydrogen fuel injection system will run close to $5,000.00 installed. As a former New England fisherman, Steele understands the financial stress fishermen are under, but he sees hope for the future with the help of relatively inexpensive vessel modifications, “I believe in the benefits of these new technologies. They can make life better for the people that run and work these vessels, and they can help improve the environment as well.”
So, are you ready to Green-fit your boat? Probably not – it will help to see whether these technologies will work as advertised, and to see some numbers that can better quantify the cost-benefit of each modification a vessel owner may consider. “You don’t know that it works until you measure it” as Jeff Steele explains. David Goethel elaborates, “We need to see if these things really work, can it work on my 2-cycle Detroit Diesel? How soon would someone recover their costs for these things and what are the pitfalls of trying them?” Goethel asks

Fuel Usage Baseline and Monitoring

With this in mind, the first step of the Green-fit project will be to collect baseline information. How often is David currently changing his oil? How much does he spend on oil? What are emissions from his boat? How much fuel is he burning under his normal fishing operations and how much does it cost? Data will be collected to answer all these questions. To answer this last question, a fuel flow meter will be installed on his vessel and he will operate his boat under normal conditions for 1 to 2 weeks.
The next step will be to install the new equipment on the FV Ellen Diane. Data will be collected to compare the benefit of adding the new equipment. The fuel flow meter will measure the benefit of adding the hydrogen fuel injector unit and the fuel filter. Emissions and costs related to changing the vessel’s oil will be measured. The influence of the way that Goethel tows or how fast he transits on fuel consumption will also be measured. Engine torque sensors will be installed to accurately equate how hard the engine is working to how much fuel is used. In this way, weather and sea conditions can be factored into the evaluation. All of the information gathered from the project will be presented in workshops and online with the goal of providing a “menu” of options with costs and benefits that other fishermen may choose to improve their operating costs. In addition to working with a trawling vessel, the New Hampshire Sea Grant and University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension are looking to expand the project to demonstrate similar technologies on a lobster boat.
The modifications will be made to FV Ellen Diane at the beginning of July. Stay tuned for progress and look for a “menu” of operational cost-saving options coming soon!

For more information on this project, visit http://extension.unh.edu/Marine/Green-FitMainPage.htm
or contact Erik Chapman
603.862.1935 erik.chapman@unh.edu

Friday, May 27, 2011

To reduce bycatch, think like a fish - SeafoodSource.com

Quoted from http://www.seafoodsource.com/newsarticledetail.aspx?id=10383&utm_source=NewsLinks&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=InformzNews:

To reduce bycatch, think like a fish - SeafoodSource.com

By Lisa Duchene, SeafoodSource contributing editor
26 May, 2011 - To help fishing boats harvest primarily their target catch and minimal amounts of bycatch, it helps to think like a fish. When haddock encounter a net, they tend to swim up into the water column and slowly drift back into the net. Codfish, on the other hand, tend to swim toward the bottom.

Knowing how these two intermingling groundfish species, valuable sources of the whitefish supply, behave differently was critical to the design of a net known in New England as “the Eliminator,” or the Ruhle Trawl, which is engineered with smaller mesh at the top to snag the haddock and huge, eight-foot mesh at the bottom to allow cod to escape.

In testing tows on Georges Bank, the Eliminator caught 83 percent fewer codfish than a conventional net.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Will Americans heed new consumption advice? - SeafoodSource.com

Quoted from http://www.seafoodsource.com/newsarticledetail.aspx?id=9988:


Will Americans heed new consumption advice? - SeafoodSource.com

By Stuart Hirsch, SeaFood Business contributing editor
12 April, 2011 - It’s no coincidence that salmon is prominently featured among fruits, vegetables and whole grains on the cover of the federal government’s revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. Released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in late January, the new recommendations advise Americans to double the amount of seafood they eat because of its health benefits.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sustainable Marine Fisheries Course to be Offered at Shoals Marine Lab!

An exciting new course will be offered this summer through UNH and the Shoals Marine Lab 6 miles offshore of Portsmouth, NH between August 8 and 22. “Sustainable Marine Fisheries” will introduce students to the complex challenges facing our regional fishing industry. Today, marine ecosystems are being managed to simultaneously sustain the livelihood of fishermen while meeting conservation goals; this protects marine ecosystems but places strain on fishermen who are stewards of marine resources. The course will provide students the opportunity for dialogue with a broad range of guest speakers, including fishermen, fisheries scientists, fisheries managers, and those involved with making fish available to consumers, including a chef from a local restaurant. Each guest speaker will present a unique perspective that collectively comprises the marine fishery. Students will have the unique opportunity to spend time on a working lobster boat and trawling and gill-net vessel participating in the groundfish fishery. New England fisheries will be used as a case-study for this course though global fishing practices, management and trends will also be discussed.

Don't miss the chance to be a part of this groundbreaking class! If you're interested in this course, contact Erik Chapman @ erik.chapman@unh.edu.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Letter: FDA must revise fish-consumption advice - SeafoodSource.com

Quoted from http://www.seafoodsource.com/newsarticledetail.aspx?id=9585:

Letter: FDA must revise fish-consumption advice - SeafoodSource.com

14 March, 2011 - U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Tom Coburn (R.-Okla.) on Monday urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to revise its seafood-consumption advice for pregnant and nursing women in light of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which for the time encourage consumers to eat seafood at least twice a week for heart and brain health.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Jumpin' Jays Fish Cafe to Host Benefit for NH Fresh and Local Seafood Brand

Quoted from http://www.jumpinjays.com/:

Fresh & Local 4-Course Dinner
Thursday, April 7th - A tasty 4-course dinner, each course paired with local spirits. Featuring artwork by local artist Matthew Smith. Please join us for this special evening in support of New Hampshire's Fresh & Local seafood.
- click for larger view of the poster

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - NOAA: U.S. “Turning a Corner” in Ending Overfishing

Quoted from http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110308_endingoverfishing.html:

NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - NOAA: U.S. “Turning a Corner” in Ending Overfishing

NOAA: U.S. 'Turning a Corner' in Ending Overfishing

March 8, 2011

At a hearing today in front of the Senate Commerce Committee on the Magnuson-Stevens Act, Assistant NOAA Administrator for Fisheries Eric Schwaab said that the U.S. is making good progress toward meeting the mandate to end domestic overfishing.

“We know that nearly $31 billion in sales and as many as 500,000 jobs are lost because our fisheries are not performing as well as they would if all stocks were rebuilt,” Schwaab said. “While we are turning a corner toward a brighter future for fishermen and fishing communities, many fishermen are struggling in part as a result of years of decline in fishing opportunity.”

Schwaab said that NOAA is committed to working with fishermen and communities during this period of transition.

Our nation’s fisheries have been vital to the economics and identities of our coastal communities for hundreds of years. According to the most recent estimates, U.S. commercial and saltwater recreational fisheries support almost two million jobs and generate more than $160 billion in sales.

Schwaab talked about fishery management challenges, including improving collection, analysis, and accuracy of scientific information used to manage both recreational and commercial fisheries. He indicated that NOAA Fisheries will continue to work hard with the regional fishery management councils, fishermen and the coastal communities to increase confidence in the management system and ensure productive and efficient fisheries.

“We have turned a corner in our management of fisheries in this country, and the sacrifices made and being made by so many who rely on this industry are showing great promise,” Schwaab said. “As we end overfishing and rebuild stocks, we will increase the economic output of our fisheries, improve the economic conditions for our fishermen, and create better, more stable and sustainable jobs and opportunities in our coastal communities.”

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Seabrook Fishermen To Offer Consumer-Direct Lobster, Fish - Manchester News Story - WMUR Manchester

SEABROOK, N.H. -- A fishermen's cooperative is planning to offer lobster and fresh fish directly to the consumer. The Yankee Fisherman's Cooperative is made up of 61 local commercial fishermen. The group plans to sell whole shares -- about 10 pounds of fresh-caught seafood each week -- or half shares -- about 5 pounds each week. The cooperative said the goal is to help independent fishermen survive at a time when changes to fishing regulations are being made by the federal government. Click the link below to watch the WMUR video!

Yankee Fisherman's Cooperative Plans to Offer Fresh Fish

SEABROOK — Selectmen yesterday gave their preliminary OK to what they considered an exciting plan by the Yankee Fisherman's Cooperative to build a fish processing plant that would provide local consumers with a new source of fresh, locally caught and filleted fish.

Click for full story

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hampton Fisherman Recovers from Death-Defying Injury

HAMPTON — It's been five months since David Goethel last set sail on his 44-foot stern trawler vessel named the Ellen Diane. The commercial fisherman from Hampton says he's itching to get back at sea to do what he loves.

The 57-year-old has been home recovering from injuries sustained in a Sept. 15 accident at the Hampton State Pier, where he fell from his boat nearly 25 feet to the ground.

"It's a miracle that he's even here right now," said his wife Ellen Goethel. "All the doctors have said the same thing — that his recovery has been nothing short of miraculous."

To read the complete article click "Here"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

UNH Cooperative Extension and NH Sea Grant Help Local Fishing Families

Check out this video which profiles efforts at UNH to help small fishing businesses access local markets.  Finding ways to market their fish locally is providing additional income to fishing families that are fishing sustainably off the NH Coast.   This income is absolutely necessary for the survival of New Hampshire's small, family-run fishing vessels who are struggling to survive under management designed to support sustainable fish populations.  Buying local seafood: 1) gives you fresh, healthy fish, 2) supports sustainable fish populations and 3) supports fishing families in your community.  Win, win, win!

In other news...you can now follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

The University of New Hampshire Partners with the State’s Fishing Industry

Monday, January 10, 2011

Seafood at the Winter Farmer's Market

2011 Shrimp CSF Begins!
The Yankee Fishermen’s Cooperative started their 2011 shrimp community supported fishery (CSF) this weekend (January 8th – 9th). Their first pick-up was during the Winter Farmer’s Market held at the Exeter High School. More than 1000 people visited the market and benefited from the farm fresh produce, meats and seafood on display. The Fishermen’s Cooperative is still allowing seafood enthusiasts to become shareholders in this seasons CSF. Those interested have their choice of 5 or 10lbs of fresh off the boat native shrimp over the next eight weeks. To join the CSF or for more information visit www.yankeefish.com. Eastman’s Local Catch was also at the market. In addition to shrimp, Eastman’s offered high quality fresh fish fillets including cod, haddock, pollock and cusk. Eastman’s also offers CSFs with many local delivery locations. To learn more about Eastman’s Local Catch visit www.eastmansfish.com.