Coonamessett Farm Foundation Inc.

East Falmouth, MA, United States

Coonamessett Farm Foundation Inc.

East Falmouth, MA, United States

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Smolowitz R.J.,Coonamessett Farm Foundation Inc. | Patel S.H.,Coonamessett Farm Foundation Inc. | Haas H.L.,Northeast Fisheries Science Center Woods Hole | Miller S.A.,Coonamessett Farm Foundation Inc.
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology | Year: 2015

This study represents the first documented use of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to actively track sea turtles in situ. From 2008 to 2014, an ROV was deployed to track the at-sea behavior of loggerhead turtles in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Seventy turtles were tracked, totaling 44.7. h of direct turtle footage. For all attempts, usable video with a turtle retained in view for a minimum of 30. s, was produced at a rate of 43.5% of effort. Turtles were first spotted from the boat, and then when the turtle was within ~. 50. m of the boat, the ROV was deployed to track the turtle for as long as possible. Tracking durations reached up to 426.1. min. Tracked turtles often remained within ~. 10. m of the surface; however loggerheads were tracked to the seafloor on 12 occasions. Turtles were filmed foraging both pelagically and benthically, even though bottom temperatures reached as low as 7.1. °C. A range of inter- and intra-species interactions were also captured. Several varieties of fish remained associated with individual turtles for extended periods of time, even during benthic foraging dives. Additionally, a variety of social interactions between loggerheads were documented. Generally these interactions were filmed occurring near the ocean surface. Overall, using the ROV provided great insight into loggerhead at-sea behavior, otherwise unattainable using previously established techniques. © 2015.


Smolowitz R.,Coonamessett Farm Foundation Inc. | Siemann L.A.,Coonamessett Farm Foundation Inc. | Huntsberger C.,Coonamessett Farm Foundation Inc. | Boelke D.,The Water Council
Journal of Shellfish Research | Year: 2016

The U.S. Atlantic sea scallop fishery has a bycatch allocation of Georges Bank yellowtail flounder that has in some cases limited the ability of the scallop fleet to fully optimize harvest of the scallop allocation. One strategy used to mitigate bycatch in the Georges Bank sea scallop fishery is time/area closures of scallop access areas. The original access area closure period, established in 1999, ran from February 1 through June 15, and it was primarily based on historical yellowtail spawning data at a broad spatial resolution. Beginning in 2011, data on yellowtail bycatch rates in the scallop fishery were collected during a dedicated seasonal bycatch survey in and around the scallop access areas of Closed Area I and Closed Area II on Georges Bank. Examination of seasonal trends in this data resulted in managers eliminating seasonal closures starting in 2013 in the Nantucket Lightship and Closed Area I access areas, and changing the dates for the seasonal closure in the Closed Area II access area to August 15 through November 15. This cooperative, fishery-independent seasonal bycatch survey has been an effective tool for monitoring seasonal variability in bycatch and informing time/area closures.

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