The Annual Eastern Gulf of Maine Sentil Jigging/Longline Survey/Fishery in 2014 to 2018

Yong Chen, University of Maine

Abstract

The Eastern Gulf of Maine (EGOM), although not closed for groundfish, has been
perceived to have low density of groundfish stocks. There is virtually no fishing effort for
groundfish species, although lobstermen have reported catching groundfish as bycatch in their traps and Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) sea sampling program has confirmed groundfish catch in lobster traps. Fisheries-independent survey programs such as bottom trawl surveys by the Maine DMR and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have sampling stations within the EGOM, however, their spatial and temporal coverage is limited. Because trawl gears cannot be used in areas with complex bottom, their catchability for some species (e.g., cusk and wolfish) tends to be very low. The overriding objectives for the sentinel survey/fishery are to provide critical information for monitoring and assessing groundfish stocks and their ecosystem in the study area, and to involve the fishing industry directly in the scientific assessment process. We have developed the EGOM sentinel survey/fishery to satisfy (1) the wish of fishermen participants to contribute their knowledge and experience in determining groundfish abundance and distribution; (2) statistical rigor required for stock assessments; (3) the opportunity to compare different sampling gears and survey designs; and (4) the opportunity to monitor potential recovery of groundfish populati