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DMR Home > Councils and Meetings > 2010 Fishery Research Priorities

Research Priorities for Maine Fisheries

Results from Fall 2010 Research Priority Meetings for......

Background

As the pressure on Maine’s marine resources continues to increase, it is even more essential to carry out the necessary research to determine how to maintain a sustainable resource base. In order to address this need, the Department of Marine Resources (DMR), in collaboration with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) and the University of Maine Sea Grant Program launched a new priority setting process to focus and encourage research on areas of greatest importance to the future sustainability of Maine’s marine resources. A series of meetings were held in November and December 2010 along the coast to bring industry members, scientists, managers and general public participants together to help shape research agendas for sea scallop, herring and lobster. These meetings focused on current scientific issues in these fisheries and resulted in an update of research priorities that were generated in a similar series of meetings held in 1996 and 2000.

Significant progress has been made in the last 10 years to address research priorities for lobster, herring and scallops. For example, the establishment of the Maine-New Hampshire Inshore Trawl Survey addresses the lobster assessment priority, “Document lobster abundance in Maine fishing areas through fishery independent means such as a trawl survey.” Development of a new lobster assessment model was made possible with Sea Grant funding, and is now in use addressing the priority, “Explore new models for lobster assessment and incorporate into models multiple indicators of stock health including results of new collaborative monitoring.” For sea scallops, DMR conducts a Cobscook Bay scallop assessment and has expanded that work coastwide in alternating years. For herring, tagging studies have been conducted to attempt to better understand migration patterns and mixing. Acoustic surveys have been conducted to monitor Gulf of Maine spawning stocks and will continue to be refined to better assess the inshore component of the stock. Work began last fall to investigate problems with retrospective errors in the herring stock assessment and propose new approaches that may be used to reduce the retrospective problem.

The goal of this project is to establish and communicate the State’s fisheries research priorities in order to ensure that fishery management decision-making processes are based upon the best scientific and technical information. By establishing and communicating a shared vision of comprehensive research needs, the DMR will be able direct internal funding decisions appropriately; identify and involve potential research partners in the broader marine science community; and provide research ideas for collaborative research with fishermen and scientists. It will also allow DMR to develop quick responses to outside funding opportunities as they arise.