The Squid Blogger


CCE Initiates Fleet Communication System for Butterfish Avoidance

Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program has received funding from NFWF for initiating a fleet communication system as a method to abate butterfish and river herring bycatch. The fleet communication system will collect and report real-time observations of study species bycatch co-occurrence and “hot spots” from vessels engaged in the Loligo bottom trawl fishery to enable the fleet to avoid the “hot spot” locations in order to reduce fleet-wide capture of butterfish and river herring. This program can lead to appreciable bycatch monitoring and reduction, and increased fishing opportunities for a fleet that might otherwise be restricted once the bycatch of river herring and butterfish cause unwanted fishery closures. An at sea observer program will also be implemented in order to document and validate bycatch information provided by the fleet and provide educational outreach to improve bycatch quantification.  Real-time reporting and reducing bycatch in the small mesh bottom trawl fishery is critical to fish stock management and rebuilding.  The project is an innovative alternative approach to bycatch reduction devices and mesh size modification as solutions for reducing bycatch. For more information and to get involved please call (631) 727-7850 x 315.


CCE Research Team Conducts Butterfish Bycatch Reduction Research Project with Modified Work Plan 

The Cornell Cooperative Extension Fisheries Team is gearing up to go to sea to conduct research on their butterfish bycatch reduction project with a modified work plan. The original goal of the study was to develop and evaluate two Bycatch Reduction Devices (BRD) to reduce butterfish bycatch in the directed winter offshore Loligo squid fishery. After analyzing the data from the first three research trips, a less than desired result has been revealed for the efficiency and effectiveness of all experimental BRD’s for both butterfish and Loligo squid. The project's work plan has been modified to further explore the effectiveness and efficiency of two gear designs, the rope trawl and the box trawl, which are the most commonly used gears in the Loligo squid fishery. This evaluation and comparison between these two gears will be the first of its kind to be performed. By amending this project's work plan to examine and evaluate the inherent bycatch reduction existing in the design of the rope trawl we can re-direct our efforts to achieve project goals and a net management perspective. 

CCE will use the 6 remaining experimental sea days to compare the rope trawl to the box trawl aboard the F/V Karen Elizabeth. CCE will conduct 6 paired tows per day totaling 36 paired tows to evaluate the two nets relative to bycatch reduction of butterfish and retention of Loligo squid. During the trip, 36 paired experimental tows will be performed in the offshore Loligo squid fishery within the Hudson Canyon Region. The trip take place Nov 26 - Dec 2. Preliminary results will be posted as they become available. 


MAFMC Press Release - Visioning

Fishery Management Council Begins Charting Course for the Future


Today the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council launched its much-anticipated initiative to develop a vision and strategic plan for the region's managed fisheries.  While the Council haseffectively rebuilt its managed fisheries over the last 35 years, it still faces long-term challenges, such as maintaining productive ecosystems and addressing the needs of communities that rely on ocean resources.


"This is a pivotal moment in the management of our region's fisheries.  We have spent most of the past 35 years successfully rebuilding fish stocks in the Mid-Atlantic, and now that these stocks are rebuilt we need to work closely with our constituents to develop a cohesive vision for the future.  This will enable us to identify successful outcomes for our fisheries and the fishing communities that depend on their continued resilience and productivity,” said Council Chairman Rick Robins.


The Council's first and most important step toward developing the vision and long term strategic plan is seeking the public's input.  A survey has been posted to the Council's website ( for the public to begin providing their thoughts, ideas, and comments on fisheries management policies and processes.  The survey, which includes opportunities to provide detailed input on each fish species managed by the Council, will be available until January 31, 2012.


In addition to the survey, over the next several months Council staff will be visiting coastal communities to hear from constituents and those most affected by the Council’s decisions.  A list of these locations and events will be posted and frequently updated on the Council's website.


"This is a completely stakeholder-driven initiative and our number one priority is to hear from our constituents.  They will determine how the vision and strategic plan are developed.  Their input will have a real impact on how our fisheries are managed in the future," added Council Executive Director Dr. Christopher M. Moore.


For more information and/or to get involved visit or contact Mary Clark at or (302) 526-5261.



MAFMC October Agenda *Squid, Mackerel, Butterfish Committee will be reviewing Amendment 14 analyses and developing recommendations for preferred alternatives

Council Meeting in Galloway, NJ:  October 11-13, 2011

The public is invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council's October 2011 meeting to be held at the Dolce Seaview, 401 South New York Road, Galloway, NJ 00820, Telephone 609-652-1800.  Below is the meeting agenda.  NOTE:  For online access to the meeting, register at:  Once registered you will receive an email confirming your registration with the information you need to join the Webinar.


Tuesday, October 11

8:30 - 10:30 a.m.        Research Set-Aside Committee Meeting       

  • Review staff evaluation of RSA Program
  • Recommend changes to RSA Program to address scientific and administrative issues

10:30 - Noon          Squid, Mackerel, Butterfish Committee

  • Review Amendment 14 analyses and develop recommendations for preferred alternatives

Noon - 1:00 p.m.    LUNCH

1:00 - 5:00 p.m.      Squid, Mackerel, Butterfish Committee (Cont'd)        

  • Review Amendment 14 analyses and develop recommendations for preferred alternatives

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.      Listening Session


Wednesday, October 12

8:30 - 9:30 a.m.         Executive Committee (CLOSED SESSION)                                     

  • Ricks E Savage Award

9:30 a.m.                   Council convenes

9:30 - 9:45 a.m.         Swearing in of New Council Member

9:45 - 11:00 a.m.       Squid, Mackerel, Butterfish Amendment 14 DEIS Alternatives

  • Approve Amendment 14 document for public hearings

11:00 - Noon             SBRM Presentation - Paul Rago (NMFS)

  • Receive report of 3-year SBRM review

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.       Lunch

1:00 - 3:00 p.m.         Amendment 17 to the Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass FMP

  • Review draft alternatives to address spatial/regional management of the recreational black sea bass fishery

3:00 - 4:30 p.m.          Spiny Dogfish Committee as a Committee of the Whole

  • Review SSC and Spiny Dogfish Monitoring Committee recommendations for 2012
  • Adopt recommendations for 2012 management measures

4:30 - 5:30 p.m.          Scoping Presentation on Consolidated HMS FMP -

                                    Jennifer Cudney   (NMFS)


Thursday, October 13

8:30                             Council Convenes

8:30 - 9:30 a.m.          RSA Program Review Report

  • Discuss/adopt recommended changes to RSA Program

9:30 - 1:00 p.m.          Business Session

  • Approval of August Minutes
  • Actions from  August

                                    Organizational Reports

  • NMFS Regional Administrator
  • NMFS NEFSC Director
  • NOAA Office of General Counsel
  • Federal Enforcement Officials (NMFS and USCG)
  • ASMFC Executive Director

                                    Liaison Reports

  • New England Council
    • South Atlantic Council

                                    Executive Director's Report - Dr. Moore

  • Review and approve amended SOPPs

                                    Science Report - Mr. Seagraves

  • National SSC Report

                                    Committee Reports

  • SSC
  • HMS
  • Executive Committee

Continuing and New Business


Cornell Drop Chain Project Trip Reports Added to Site

Two recent trip reports were added by Cornell Marine Program documenting the research activities on the 12" drop chain project. The 4-day trips were a success and preliminary results indicate that the experimental net with the 12" drop chain effectively reduced winter flounder bycatch and demersal species retention. To read the report go to the Research tab, select Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program, then click on the project title (last project). Or go to You can subscribe to receive trips reports and other page updates as they are posted by logging into your account (subscribe if you have not done so already), clicking on your name at the top of the page and selecting "subscribe to page updates" for each page that you are interested in.