Dataset: monkfish_size
Deployment: NEC-SE2006-1

Bycatch in the Gillnet Fishery for Monkfish: length, weight data
Lead Principal Investigator: 
Steve Eayrs (Gulf of Maine Research Institute, GMRI)
Principal Investigator: 
Michael Pol (Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries)
Daniel J Salerno (Gulf of Maine Research Institute, GMRI)
BCO-DMO Data Manager: 
Nancy Copley (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, WHOI BCO-DMO)
Version Date: 

Goosefish, commonly referred to as monkfish, is a commercially important finfish species in New England that is mainly targeted by otter trawl and large-mesh gillnets (10" or greater). Despite the commercial importance of this species, there is limited information regarding the size selection of monkfish between these gear types and between gillnet mesh sizes, particularly in the Gulf of Maine. There is also limited information describing bycatch composition and rates between gillnet mesh sizes. In this study monkfish were targeted using an otter trawl and tiedown gillnets with 10", 12" and 14" mesh size. We used the F/V Kirsten Lee during this study, a commercial monkfish vessel that can deploy both trawl and gillnet fishing gear during the same fishing trip. This study occurred in the Gulf of Maine between Boon Island and Cape Porpoise, ME, generally between 30 and 65 fathoms depth, during the summer fishery for monkfish. For the gillnet gears, we found the 12" mesh gillnets had the highest catch of monkfish by weight and the 14" gillnets had the lowest catch of monkfish by weight and number. The catch from the 12" and 14" gillnets was dominated by female monkfish. Mean monkfish length increased with the increase in gillnet mesh size and the length of trawl caught monkfish was significantly smaller than that for the gillnet caught fish. Also noted was a significant difference in the length / girth ratio for monkfish between the trawl and gillnet caught fish. Bycatch was highest by weight in the 10" gillnets while the lowest levels were seen in the 12" gillnets. The major bycatch species of the three gillnet sizes included spiny dogfish, American lobster, thorny skate and Atlantic cod. A decrease in bycatch of spiny dogfish, American lobster and Atlantic cod was noted as the mesh size increased, while the thorny skate bycatch increased with mesh size. (from final report abstract)

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