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Narragansett Lab: Fisheries Engineering

entangled whale
Entangled Whale - Photo by Glenn Salvador
fish weir
Fish Weir - Photo by Alan Blott

The Fisheries Engineering Group is part of the Protected Resources Division of the Northeast Regional Office of NMFS, and is located on the East Farm Campus of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. The group provides engineering and gear expertise to the Northeast Regional Office, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, and management agencies. The main areas of emphasis are reducing the entanglement of large marine mammals in fishing gear and providing passage for anadromous fish in our rivers and streams. Gear research on the entanglement problem is aimed at devising equipment and proposing changes in fishing techniques which will allow whales to escape when they encounter fixed fishing gear. This is being done in cooperation with the fishing industry in support of the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan. Fish passage activities involve working with dam owners and various resource agencies to design and develop effective fishways. These allow salmon, shad, and other anadromous and catadromous species access to essential habitat for spawning and other life stages.

Fisheries Engineering personnel John Kenney and Al Blott with assistance from Dan Mckiernan of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries conduct baleen/rope slippage measurements on the right whale "Staccato" which was killed by a ship strike in May of 1999.

A recently finished salmon weir and trap on the Pleasant River in eastern Maine which will allow the separation of aquaculture escapees from wild Atlantic salmon during upstream migration. A smolt trap is being designed for this weir which will aid in the study of downstream migrating salmon smolts.

For further information, contact Alan J. Blott:

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