Jon Grabowski, a marine science and fisheries expert at Northeastern University's Marine Science Center in Nahant, Massachusetts, has been working with other fisheries scientists as well as economists, social scientists, and policy makers to determine the best strategies for dealing with all of the Northeast region's fisheries that impact habitat, which includes cod, haddock, cusk, scallops, clams and other fish that live near the sea floor and are of significant socioeconomic value to the region.
In research published online last month in the journal Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture, Grabowski found that mobile fishing gear such as trawls and dredges that drag along the bottom cause more damage to areas inhabited by groundfish than stationary gear like traps and gillnets. They also found that larger geological features, such as cobble and boulders, are more susceptible to damage and take longer to recover than sand and mudafter all, some of these geological features have taken millennia to form.
"We worry most about the components of habitats that are highly susceptible to any of these gears and that have very long recovery times. Those are the kinds of persistent and severe impacts that we'd want to manage against," Grabowski said. His research focuses on the many interconnecting arms of fisheries science and management.
Cod fishing in New England has steadily declined over the past three decades. It's estimated that hundreds of people have lost their jobs as a result and that continued failure to rebuild the fishery could cost the region's economy a total of $200 million, according to the New England Fishery Management Council.
But the big concern is really one of culture, according to Grabowski. "You're talking about an iconic fishery. Cod has been fished in these waters going back hundreds and hundreds of years," said Grabowski, an associate professor of marine and environmental science. "You can go ba
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