CFRF Lobster Research Fleet Pilot Project: The On-On Deck Data Program

LOBSTERS SAMPLED TO DATE

29,211

(as of June 9, 2014)

General Description

The CFRF Lobster Research Fleet Pilot Project (known as the "On-Deck Data Program" focuses on testing methods to improve the collection and management of fishery dependent data.  Specifically, the pilot program is designed to explore  and test new technologies that will enable lobstermen fishing in Lobster Management Areas 2 and 3 to collect and relay much-needed biological data to managers and scientists monitoring the lobster stock in these areas.  The technologies being piloted in this project include the use of onboard waterproof tablets, electronic calipers, and internet relay of data.  The project uses a lobster research fleet approach that includes six lobster fishing vessels in each management area, with vessels strategically chosen to provide area coverage. Click here to see the vessels in the Lobster Research Fleet. Click here to see the coverage of the Lobster Fleet.

Data collection is focused on both retained and discarded lobsters, including:

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  • Carapace length
  • Sex
  • Females - egg bearing and/or V-notch
  • Presence of shell disease

Additional data recorded includes:

  • Date of sampling
  • Location of samples (longitude/latitude)
  • Soak time of traps
  • Number of traps sampled
  • Total number of lobsters sampled per set of traps.

Data for lobsters caught in a subset of ventless traps is also reported, and lobstermen have the option of entering notes regarding general observations e.g. tides, weather conditions, other species in traps, etc.

The project is being approached as a collaborative endeavor among lobstermen, and state/regional/federal scientists with a Project Steering Committee comprised of representatives from the lobstermen who fish in Lobster Management Areas 2 and 3, state managers from the RI Department of Environmental Management and the MA Division of Marine Fisheries, and staff from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Click here to view members of the Project Steering Committee.

PILOT PROJECT TIMELINE:

  • Dec. 2012 - Jan. 2013 – Organization of Project Steering Committee, scheduling/implementation of first meeting; assembling of technical support team ; establishment of work agreements
  • Jan. 2013 – March 2013 –Continuation of Project Steering Committee work;  purchase of equipment; finalize data collection strategy; programming of tablets; establishment of data management system; selection and establishment of work agreements for study fleet vessels;
  • April 2013 – June 2013 – Beta testing period for tablets; revisions to programming if needed
  • June 2013 - Training sessions for lobster study fleet
  • June 2013 – May 2014 – Collection of field data; ongoing data compilation/synthesis; ongoing communication with fleet/managers
  • May 2014 – June 2014 – Drafting and finalizing of final report
  • April 2013 – June 2014 – Outreach on project

DATA COLLECTION STRATEGY:  

BETA TESTING (APRIL2013 - JUNE 2013):  

  • On-Deck Data Application was created
  • 2 Vessels (1-LMA2 and 1-LMA3) tested tablets and electronic calipers in the field
  • Feedback was received from users during the beta testing phase
  • Equipment was chosen and tablets were programmed

EQUIPMENT :

TRAINING SESSION (JUNE 2013) :

RESEARCH FLEET DATA COLLECTION (JUNE 2013-PRESENT):

  •  Data Summary By Stock Area (as of 1-15-14)- click here
  • Observation photos - click here

FLEET UPDATES:

  • January 15, 2014 Fleet Meeting Summary - click here

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

  • Support Staff - click here 
  • Map of Lobster Management Areas 2 and 3 click here
  • Policy Guidelines for Data Management - in the process of being developed

MEDIA COVERAGE:

 

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