Demersal Resources Task
Mark Terceiro, Ph.D. Supv., Research Fishery Biologist
The Demersal Resources Task has overall responsibility to provide stock assessments and related advice for groundfish resources. The Demersal Task is responsible for the assessment of stocks regulated under the New England Fishery Management Council's Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, including cod, haddock, flounders, redfish, hakes and other stocks. The Task supports the work of the Northern Demersal Working Group of the Stock Assessment Workshop (SAW). Assessments of transboundary resources on Georges Bank and in the Gulf of Maine are coordinated with Canadian scientists through the bilateral Transboundary Resources Assessment Committee (TRAC). The Task staff support international assessment and management through the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) and the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES). The Demersal Task is also responsible for the assessment of several stocks regulated by the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, including summer flounder (fluke), scup, black sea bass, bluefish, tilefish, spiny dogfish and several others. The Task staff therefore also support the work of the Southern Demersal Working Group of the SAW.
The Demersal Task is responsible for monitoring the abundance of fish stocks, measuring the impact of fishing activity, evaluating interactions among the biological components of the ecosystem, and studying interactions among the several components of the fisheries. Data used in the evaluation of stock abundance and fishing activity are collected primarily by other components of NEFSC and NMFS, state fisheries agencies, and academic institutions. Additionally, the Task uses information on biological and physical processes within the ecosystem developed by the other Divisions of the NEFSC to improve predictive capability. Frequent collaboration with both national and international colleagues is required. Mathematical and statistical models are used to evaluate hypotheses about the effects of environmental changes and fishing activity on fishery resources. Considerable effort is directed towards developing new analytical methods e.g. for studying the spatial distribution of fishery resources and fishing activity, and interactions among species and fishery components.
The Demersal Task provides information vital to the management of marine fishery resources worth many millions of dollars to the US economy. Information on the current status and likely future trends of fishery resources, their distribution and other relevant biological information is used to better manage fish stocks utilized by commercial and recreational fishermen. Information developed by the Task is summarized by assessment working groups, peer reviewed by the Stock Assessment Workshop (SAW), and then provided to fishery managers. Due to their expertise, Task staff members routinely assist in assessments of resources in the Northwest and Northeast Atlantic beyond the jurisdiction of the US. Demersal Task scientists publish peer reviewed scientific papers to describe research results of general interest.