"Consistency in the performance of the survey gear ensures consistency in the catch data," adds Latour. "The more robust and sound the data, the more effective the fisheries management program."
Filling a "Data Gap"
NEAMAP was established in 2006 to meet the needs of fisheries management and stock assessment in the marine waters of the northeastern U.S. It complements a similar program called SEAMAP (Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program), which operates from Cape Hatteras south into the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.
Neither NEAMAP nor SEAMAP was designed to replace existing fishery programs, but rather to coordinate and standardize procedures and improve data quality and accessibility among existing programswhether state or federal.
The impetus for this NEAMAP survey, which was established by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in 2003, was a concern that existing surveys weren't collecting enough data from inshore waters to effectively manage certain fisheries along the lengthy stretch of seaboard between Cape Hatteras and the U.S.-Canadian border.
"When we sat down and mapped out which groups were sampling where, we realized that we had a problem in the coastal Mid-Atlantic and Southern New England regions," says Gartland. "New Jersey is the only state running a survey in their coastal waters, and the federal governmentthe NEFSCwas about to abandon their sampling of the near shore zone because their new boat had a very deep draft. These inshore waters support abundant populations and a rich diversity of fishes, and in turn valuable commercial and recreational fisheries, so ignoring these areas could make it difficult to generate reliable stock assessments and management plans for certain species. Our survey was designed to fill this sampling gap by providing high quality data to assessment scientists and managers for this crit
|Contact: David Malmquist|
Virginia Institute of Marine Science