Press Releases

General Reports and Posters

Software and Data

  • R-package for survey design analysis – PC fileUnix file. This package contains all of the functions for stratified random surveys developed for NEFSC by Stephen Smith in 2006 plus functions for post-stratification and domain estimates. Documentation is available using the R help() facility available for all packages once the package is installed
  • Generation of GIS layers for Nantucket and Georges Bank closed areas – GIS Data (zip), Layers (zip), Files (.docx) and ASCII Data. Space delimited ASCII with self explanatory headers. Each station represents the same area, given the domain of the survey (about 29.4 km2.)

Technologies and Techniques

Ocean Quahog Ageing: SCeMFiS scientists produced the first population age frequencies for ocean quahogs in the northwest Atlantic more than doubling the number available worldwide. Ocean quahogs are the oldest living non-colonial animals with ages often exceeding 250 years. They are also a biomass dominant and support one of the largest shellfish fisheries. Understanding age frequency and thus recruitment dynamics is critical for managing this remarkable resource. In order to accomplish this, SCeMFiS scientists have developed an improved method for ageing clams. SCeMFiS has submitted this project for an NSF Breakthrough Award. The hinge region of each clam is photographed using a high-definition Olympus DP73 digital microscope camera using the Olympus CellSens microscope imaging software. This software permits photographs of the hinge region to be captured at a resolution high enough to distinguish annual growth lines without the use of a stain or acetate peel. The individual images are then stitched together automatically by the imaging software and each annual growth line recorded using the ObjectJ plugin in the software ImageJ. As a consequence, SCeMFiS has now aged more ocean quahogs than the cumulative number aged by all previous researchers, U.S. and foreign.

Wind Energy Development: In 2019 SCeMFiS began a series of studies designed to examine the influence of wind energy development on U.S. east coast fisheries and vessel transit. Among these is the acquisition of $500,000 in support from BOEM based on the application of SEFES, a fisheries simulator developed and originally implemented by SCeMFiS, to the question of wind energy development and its influence on the surfclam fishery. As of this writing, this model has also been chosen by the Sea Scallop Research Set-aside Program for the evaluation of wind energy development on the sea scallop fishery. SEFES (Spatially-explicit Fishery Economics Simulator) is an individual-based model of a temporally and spatially variable stock harvested by a fleet of commercial vessels. The primary model is written in Fortran 90 with post-processing in MatLab and statistical analysis using SAS (SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC). SEFES is a unique model in incorporating vessel specific and captain specific behaviors in evaluating fishery performance.

Survey Dredge Calibration: SCeMFiS developed a depletion model simulator to evaluate performance of depletion experiments used to calibrate survey dredges. The Simulation Model allows the dredge with an assigned efficiency to catch clams in its path. These data are fed into a model previously available, the Patch Model, that uses the catch per tow data generated from the simulated depletion experiment to estimate gear efficiency, clam distribution, and clam density in the area. The Simulation Model allows for various inputs to be treated as predictors of model performance by examining the effects of initial stock abundance, distribution, and fishing behavior on stock removal and Patch Model efficiency estimates. The Simulation Model allows for the adjustment of factors some of which are normally unalterable or difficult to evaluate in designing an actual field experiment. Normally, the distribution and density of organisms on the bottom is unknown, for example. Dredge tow paths can be partly, but not completely controlled as tide and wind conditions affect vessel performance. The number of tows required is not known a priori. Results will be used to evaluate field experiment performance by comparing descriptive metrics derived from the simulation model and the field experiment.

Dameron-Kubiak Dredge: A fundamental challenge in marine benthic ecology and fishery assessment is to quantitatively collect small infaunal (within the sediment) target species that have non-uniform distribution and/or low mean density (number per unit area). Clams are a prime example of such a species. Previously available sampling gear was either grabs or cores that are limited in sample area and thus had high statistical probability of missing target species with low density; or lined dredges capable of covering large areas (integrating density) but with high retention of accompanying sediment and damage to the target species. The lined dredge also presented non-trivial challenges in deployment and retrieval in that a sediment-filled dredge can weigh several tons, thus challenging winches and creating the opportunity for marginal safety conditions for on-deck crew. SCeMFiS industry members designed and fabricated a research dredge with variable bar spacing (ability to change target size of species under examination) and in situ sample washing capability (wash sediment from the sample as it is collected on the sea floor). The dredge design was finalized between March and May 2014, fabricated in May-July 2014, and tested at sea in August 2014. The dredge performance exceeded expectations, providing high sample retention with little sample damage in a very safe and tractable operating environment. The dredge was tested on two fishery target species – surfclams and ocean quahogs – and proved to be comparable in retention efficiency to previously used lined dredges but with greater ease of use and far less retention of sediment. Increased retention also demonstrated heretofore undescribed localized high densities of pre-recruit-to-fishery-size clams – a positive demonstration of sustainable management success. The dredge was named the Dameron-Kubiak dredge after its designer (Captain T. Dameron) and lead fabricator (Mr. Kubiak) The new dredge was employed as a standard selectivity and juvenile survey dredge in the 2015 NEFSC survey and is anticipated to be a primary survey tool indefinitely into the future.

– Link to D-K Dredge presentation


Testimony: “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges” September 12, 2017 – SCeMFiS Vice-Chair, Greg DiDomenico, Executive Director, Garden State Seafood Association testifies at a hearing that focused on the perspectives of commercial, charter, and recreational fishermen on the state of our nation’s fishery laws.

Oversight Hearing: “Exploring the Successes and Challenges of the Magnuson-Stevens Act – July 19, 2017 – Witness testimony from IAB member and former Chair, Jeff Kaelin, Government Relations, Lund’s Fisheries, Inc. Memorandum / HR_200 Kaelin testimony / J. Kaelin oral statement

Theses and Dissertations