Design and Test of a Squid Trawl with Raised Footrope Rigging and a Grid Device to Reduce Winter Flounder, Scup and Butterfish Bycatch (SQUIDGRID)

Funded by: NOAA Fisheries Northeast Cooperative Research Partners Program


  • Pingguo He, UMass Dartmouth – SMAST, New Bedford, MA
  • Mike Pol, MA Division of Marine Fisheries, New Bedford, MA
  • Mike Walsh, F/V “Atlantic Prince”, Boston, MA
  • Tor Bendicksen, Reiders Manufacturers Inc., Fairhaven, MA

This project is to test a new squid trawl for the inshore southern New England longfin squid (Loligo pealeii) fishery, incorporating a raised footrope design and a modified Nordmøre-style finfish exclusion grid to reduce catch of winter flounder, scup, butterfish and other finfish species while maintaining squid catch. If successful, this trawl design may also be applied to the offshore longfin squid fishery off Southern New England and Mid-Atlantic with additional sea trials.

The project addresses bycatch issues in the southern New England longfin squid fishery. Successful outcomes from this project will reduce such bycatch and contribute to recovery and sustainable use of scup, butterfish and other important commercial and recreational fisheries resources, while maintaining profitable harvesting of the squid.

The goal of the project is to reduce bycatch in the southern New England longfin squid trawl fishery through conservation engineering research. Specific objectives are to:

  • Design a raised footrope trawl and a grid bycatch reduction device (BRD) suitable for the southern New England inshore longfin squid trawl fishery;
  • Conduct flume tank tests on the grid section to evaluate rigging and to measure geometry and flow patterns;
  • Conduct sea trials in inshore waters of southern New England (principally Nantucket Sound) to evaluate the effectiveness of the new design in retaining squid and in excluding winter flounder, scup and butterfish, and other finfish;
  • Evaluate its operation and handling in the fishery;
  • Conduct outreach on the technology after successful sea trial results.

The research involves gear design, flume tank tests, sea trials, data analysis, and outreach to the industry and fisheries management. The anticipated outcome will be a trawl grid design which will be able to maintain Loligo squid catch while significantly reducing bycatch of scup, butterfish and other commercial and recreational finfish. Successful design may be applied to the offshore squid fishery. 

For more information contact:

Dr. Pingguo He,