The annual spring trawl survey conducted by the Department of Marine Resources, will begin in New Hampshire waters on May 1, working its way east to finish up about June 2nd near Cutler/Lubec. We will fish the first 5 good days each week, using the weekend to make up for bad weather or equipment problems. This should enable us to maintain a predictable schedule as we move up the coast. The vessel is a white fiberglass Northeast 54’, the F/V Robert Michael of Portland, captained by Rob Tetrault.
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.
As in the past, DMR asks that on the scheduled day of the tow, an area 1/8th mile on either side of the tow line be clear of fixed gear. We make 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.
Click here for a detailed schedule with links to each day’s charts.
Each Class I, II, and III lobster license holder will receive a notice of the start of the survey. This notice will contain a link to this site where the daily schedule and charts are located to view scheduled tow locations and coordinates. If weather does not permit us to work, we expect that lobstermen will not be fishing that day. Therefore, it is our hope that everyone, the trawl survey and lobstermen, will slide the schedule one day forward. Marine Patrol will be on hand as well to assist with tow operations, including moving traps. In a past year there was some disagreement that resulted in activity that placed people and boats in danger. All fishermen should understand that actions that place people and property in unsafe or dangerous circumstances may be violating the law and could be subject to both criminal and civil penalties.
We do our best to advertise and adhere to the published schedule to avoid prolonged periods of inconvenience to fixed gear fishermen. Because weather and mechanical difficulties occasionally throw us off schedule, we have 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.