Lobster Research Fleet Pilot Project: On-Deck Data Program
The goal of the Lobster Research Fleet Pilot Project (also known as the On-Deck Data Program) was to determine the feasibility and value of leveraging the New England lobster fishing community to provide meaningful data on water temperature and species distribution to better inform stock assessments and build a robust dataset. The pilot project employed new technology to test effectiveness and serves as a proof of concept to assess the efficacy of scaling up to more effectively manage fisheries based on enhanced scientific understanding of the environmental parameters in the fishing grounds. The project team equipped a portion of the commercial lobster fleet vessels with Google Nexus tablets, temperature sensors, and digital calipers to collect biological data on lobsters and Jonah crabs and bottom water temperatures in offshore waters out to the continental shelf break. The project tested methods of using modern technology to enable lobstermen to collect and relay previously unavailable data from offshore waters as part of their routine fishing practices. The outcomes offer meaningful techniques and strategies to enhance observations and data for stock assessments, and information to help correlate the effects of water temperature on the distribution and abundance of targeted commercial species. Overall, the Lobster Research Fleet pilot project was successful in:
- Piloting modern technology (tablets, electronic calipers, and Bluetooth temperature sensors) on lobster fishing vessels to collect biological and environmental data;
- Developing efficient data sharing protocols that supported the direct use of project data by state, regional, and federal scientists/managers,
Petruny-Parker, P., and A. Score. 2015. Piloting a Lobster Research Fleet Approach in New England: Working Towards a Sustainable Lobster Fishery. Summary of a project from the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation. Last updated September 2016.