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Trawl nets rigged with different sweeps, the part of the net that fishes closest to the ocean bottom. Gear tested in efficiency experiment by fishing side-by-side simultaneously: rock hopper sweep (left) and chain sweep (right). Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/Calvin Alexander, NEFSC
Female scientist holding black sea bass Black sea bass captured on research survey. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries

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November 17, 2016
Contact: Shelley Dawicki

Peer Reviewers Take on 2016 Stock Assessments for Black Sea Bass and Witch Flounder

SARC 62 Meets Nov 29-Dec 2

A panel of stock assessment experts will peer review assessments of black sea bass and witch flounder stocks found off the Northeastern U.S. in a four-day meeting during November 29-December 2, 2016. Working groups of federal, state, and academic scientists have been developing the assessments over the past year. The peer reviewers will determine if the work is adequate for use in making fishery management decisions.

Black sea bass is a reef fish important to both recreational and commercial fishermen and are treated as a single stock for fish occurring in waters from Cape Hatteras to the southern Gulf of Maine. The witch flounder is a North Atlantic deep-water flatfish harvested by the commercial fishery. In our region is it found mostly in the area of the Gulf of Maine-Georges Bank.

This is the 62nd meeting of the Northeast Stock Assessment Review Workshop, a multi-part process that develops, evaluates, and presents stock assessment results to fishery managers in the region. Assessments are prepared by working groups and peer reviewed by a Stock Assessment Review Committee (SARC), an independent panel of stock assessment researchers from outside of the regional process.

The meeting is open to the public. It will be held in the Stephen H. Clark Conference Room at the NOAA Fisheries Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. It will be concurrently available by webinar and teleconference. For full details on participation, the agenda, reviewers, working papers and other meeting details, please visit us here:

The NEFSC also undertook two pilot outreach projects to support SARC 62 assessments. One collected local ecological knowledge about black sea bass from fishermen and divers. The other was a gear-based study intended to improved stock size estimates for witch flounder.

Here’s more on these projects:

Black Sea Bass Outreach
black sea bass

We asked, and fishermen and divers told us about black sea bass feeding, habitat use, and as prey for larger fish »

Gear Efficiency Study
witch flounder

Come aboard for this experiment on how to compare how research survey net configuration affects flounder catch »

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