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DMR Spring Trawl Survey Begins May 3

The spring inshore trawl survey is scheduled to begin in New Hampshire waters on May 3, working its way east to finish up about June 4 near Cutler/Lubec. The vessel is a white fiberglass Northeast 54’, the F/V Robert Michael of Portland, captained by Rob Tetrault.

Sorting the haul from the trawl. DMR photo.

The survey is designed to provide information that has not been available to NOAA Fisheries Service for stock assessments. Obtaining this information is critical to making rational management decisions. The better information we have about all our fisheries resources, the better we can ensure a future for both fishermen and the resource.

As in the past, DMR asks that an area 1/8th mile on either side of the tow line be clear of fixed gear on the scheduled day of the tow. The survey team makes every effort to avoid contact with gear by making at least one and often two passes on the tow line before we set our gear. However, if buoys are running under, we cannot see them and mistakenly conclude that the area is clear. Clearing the area of gear avoids gear contact.

Each Class I, II, and III lobster license holder will receive a notice of the start of the survey with a link to the DMR website with the daily scheduled tow locations, coordinates and charts. If weather does not permit us to work, we expect that lobstermen will not be fishing that day, and the trawl survey will slide the schedule one day forward. Marine Patrol will be on hand as well to assist with tow operations, including moving traps.

Because weather and mechanical difficulties occasionally throw the survey off schedule, DMR has established several ways to assist you in obtaining accurate information. The best source of information is directly from the boat crew. You may hail them on either channel 16 or 13, and then switch to your preferred local working channel. The crew cell phone is 207-557-5276. Cell phone service can be spotty at times, but messages can be left for the crew to return your call.

In a past year there was some disagreement that that placed people and boats in danger. All fishermen should understand that any actions that endanger people or property may be violating the law and could be subject to both criminal and civil penalties. DMR wants to avoid such situations and ask for your cooperation. If you have concerns, please contact us immediately. Charts, coordinates and survey dates available on Maine DMR website at www.maine.gov/dmr/science-research/projects/trawlsurvey/sp21/index.html.

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