Modified dredgecamera systems used to attain gear and behavioral informationTurtle CapturePound net researchFlume tank work

Protected Species Gear Research

The goal of gear research at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole is to develop solutions for reducing protected species bycatch through a cooperative effort with industry, non-government organizations, NOAA managers, and others. We believe in a systematic approach to gear work outlined in the NEFSC Gear Research Flowchart.  This flowchart outlines a research approach that has proven successful in effectively devising gear modifications to mitigate the bycatch of protected species as well as those of finfish species.

Recent and on-going projects

Papers and Protected Species Gear Research Reports.
Click on the title to download a full
PDF (not all reports are downloadable)

Blue dot



Sea Turtles and Vertical lines Research Needs


Research Priorities and Needs for Protected Resources

in the Greater Atlantic Region Sea Turtles





  • Study on determining the catch efficiency of a cable sorting grid in the summer flounder trawl fishery

Status: Final report has been received and posted.

  • Study on mitigating sea turtle bycatch in the gillnet fishery.

Status: Contract awarded to AIS. On-going (3/17).

Cable TED

Gillnet study to reduce sturgeon bycatch

Turtle being evaluated


Topless trawl participants

Click HERE for a file on two flounder TED designs.

We are asking for feedback on research priorities for reducing sea turtle bycatch in trawl fisheries. If you have any suggestions, please submit them to our forum.(Click here to enter forum).

NE Modified TED


Greater Atlantic Regional Office, Protected Resources Division

Southeast Regional Office, Protected Resources Division

Southwest Regional Office, Protected Resources Division

Northwest Regional Office, Protected Resources Division

Alaska Regional Office, Protected Resources Division

Pacific Islands Regional Office, Protected Resources Division

NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology

NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources

NOAA Fisheries Office of Sustainable Fisheries



  1. Usher R. 2018. Bottom-Set Gillnet Comparative Gear Study to Reduce Sea Turtle Bycatch. [Final Report; 52 p.] NOAA NMFS Contract No. EA133F-14-SE-3694.


  1. Parkins C, Smolowitz R, Hopkins N. 2017. Determining the Catch Efficiency of a Cable Sorting Grid in the Summer Flounder Trawl Fishery. [Final Report; 52 p.] NOAA NMFS Contract No. EE-133F-15-SE-1415.


  1. Matzen E, Milliken HO, Lowell N. 2015. Development and testing of a tow time data logger to monitor and enforce tow time restrictions in trawl fisheries. NOAA Tech Memo NMFS NE-234; 15 p.
  2. Parkins C, Smolowitz R. 2015. A Feasibility Test of Two NMFS Flounder Turtle Excluder Device (TED) Designs With Large Opening in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Scallop Trawl Fishery. [Final Report; 52 p.] NOAA NMFS Contract No. EE-133F-13-SE-2036.


  1. Yong C, Jocelyn Runnebaums J. 2014. A preliminary study for Improving survivability of cusk bycatch in the Gulf of Maine lobster trap. [Final report; 15 p.] NOAA NMFS Contract No. EE1333F12SE2038.
  2. Gahm M, DeAlteris J, Parkins C. 2014. Evaluation of a Topless Bottom Trawl Design with a 160 foot Headrope and Two Restrictor Lines for Fish Capture in the Summer Flounder Fishery. [Final report; 36 p.] NOAA NMFS Contract No. EA-133F-12-SE-2141.


  1. He P, Jones N. 2013. Design and Test of a Low Profile Gillnet to Reduce Atlantic Sturgeon and Sea Turtle Bycatch in Mid-Atlantic Monkfish Fishery. [Final Report; 40 p.] NOAA NMFS Contract No. EA133F-12-SE-20
  2. Fox, DA, Armstrong JL, Brown LM, Wark K. 2013. Year Three, the Influence of Sink Gillnet Profile on Bycatch  of Atlantic Sturgeon in the Mid-Atlantic Monkfish Fishery. [Report; 27 p.] NOAA NMFS Contract No. EA-133F-12-RQ-0697.
  3. National Marine Fisheries Service and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 2013. Workshop on Sea Turtle and Atlantic Sturgeon Bycatch Reduction in Gillnet Fisheries. Jan 22-23, 2013, Ocean City, MD. 48 pp.
  4. DeAlteris J, Parkins C, Hasbrouck E, Scotti J, Froehlich T, Costanzo J. 2013. Evaluation of a Topless Bottom Trawl with a 160 foot Headrope for Fish Capture. [Final report; 28 p.] NOAA NMFS Contract No. EA 133F-10-SE-2491, Mod. 002..


  1. Fox DA, Armstrong JL, Brown LM, Wark K. 2012. The Influence of Sink Gillnet Profile on Bycatch of Atlantic Sturgeon in the Mid-Atlantic Monkfish Fishery. [Final report; 31 p.] NOAA NMFS Contract No. EA133F-10-SE-3358.
  2. DeAlteris J, Parkins C. 2012. Evaluation of a Topless Bottom Trawl Design with Regard to Excluding Sea Turtles. [Report; 29 p.] NOAA NMFS Contract No. EA 133F-10-SE-2491, Mod. 002.
  3. Ronald Smolowitz, Henry O. Milliken & Matthew Weeks. 2012. Design, Evolution, and Assessment of a Sea Turtle Deflector Dredge for the U.S. Northwest Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery: Impacts on Fish Bycatch. North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 32:1, 65-76


  1. Silva, D. R., J. T. DeAlteris, and H. O. Milliken. 2011. Evaluation of a pound net leader designed to reduce sea turtle bycatch. Marine Fisheries Review. Volume 73(3).
  2. Fox DA, Wark K, Armstrong JL, Brown LM. 2011. Gillnet configurations and their impact on Atlantic sturgeon and marine mammal bycatch in the New Jersey monkfish fishery: year 1. [Final report; 30p.] NOAA NMFS Contract No. EA133F-10-RQ-1160.


  1. Salerno DJ, Eayrs S. 2010. Study on catch retention using a larger TED and opening in the summer flounder trawl fishery. [Revised final report; 33 p.] NOAA Contract No. EA133F-08-CN-0230.
  2. Smolowitz R, Weeks M. 2010. Scallop Dredge Comparison Study. [Final report; 16 p.] NOAA Contract No. NFFM7320-8-26515.



  1. Haas, H., E. LaCasella, R. LeRoux, H. O. Milliken, and B. Hayward. 2008. Characteristics of sea turtles incidentally captured in the U.S. Atlantic sea scallop dredge fishery. Fisheries Research Volume 93, Issue 3, 28 September 2008, Pages 289-295.
  2. Smolowitz R, Weeks M, Morin M. 2008. Assessing the Efficacy of the Coonamessett Farm (Cfarm) Turtle Excluder Sea Scallop Dredge in Reducing Injury to Loggerhead Sea Turtle Carcasses. [Project Report, 30 p.] NOAA Contract No. EN133F07SE3189.


  1. Lawson D, DeAlteris J, Parkins C. 2007. An evaluation of the catch efficiency of the NMFS certified, standard Turtle Excluder Device (TED) required in the Mid-Atlantic summer flounder fishery. [Summary report; 26 p + appendix] NOAA Contract No. EA133F-05-SE-6561. NOTE: Appendix has several odd-sized pages with very small type; use Acrobat's magnification tool (400-600%).
  2. NEFSC Reference Document: Evaluation of a Modified Scallop Dredge’s Ability to Reduce the Likelihood of Damage to Loggerhead Sea Turtle Carcasses, by HO Milliken, L Belskis, W DuPaul, J Gearhart, H Haas, J Mitchell, R Smolowitz, W Teas. April 2007


  1. American Underwater Search and Survey, Ltd. 2006.  Sonar survey of crab and whelk pot gear in the lower Chesapeake Bay, Virginia:  May-June 2006.  [Final report; 24 p.] NOAA Contract No. EN133F-05-SE-5190.
  2. DeAlteris Associates Inc. 2006.  Sea turtle-pot fishery interaction survey:  Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters of Virginia.  [Final report; 28 p.] NOAA Contract No. EN133F-05-SE-6758.
  3. Lawson DD, DeAlteris JT. 2006. Evaluation of a turtle excluder device (TED) in the scallop trawl fishery of the mid-Atlantic. [Final report; 145 p] NOAA Contract No. EA133F-05-SE6561
  4. Smolowitz R, Weeks M. 2006. Turtle-scallop dredge interaction study: 2005 field season. [Final report; 44 p] NOAA Contract No. EA133F-05-SE4860


  1. Smolowitz, R. 2005. Sea turtle - scallop dredge interactions. [Videotape accompanying final report; 656 MB.] NOAA Contract No. EA133F04SE0968.
  2. Smolowitz, R.; Harnish, C.; Rudders, D. 2005. Turtle - scallop dredge interaction study. [Final report; 83 p.] NOAA Contract No. EA133F-04-SE0968.
  3. Zollett, E.A.; Rosenberg, A.A.  2005.  A review of cetacean bycatch in trawl fisheries.  [Final report; 35 p.] NOAA Contract No. EN133F04SE1048.


  1. American Underwater Search and Survey, Ltd. 2004. Sonar survey of six pound net leaders off Kiptopeke, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. [Final report; 6 p.] NOAA Contract No. EA133F04SE0646.
  2. DeAlteris, J.; Chosid, D.; Silva, R.; Politis, P. 2004. Evaluation of the performance of an alternative leader design on the bycatch of sea turtles and the catch of finfish in Chesapeake Bay pound nets, offshore Kiptopeake, Va. [Fin report; 14 p. + app.] NOAA Contract No. EA133F04SE0665.
  3. DuPaul, W.D.; Rudders, D.B., Smolowitz. 2004. Industry trials of a modified sea scallop dredge to minimize the catch of sea turtles. [Final report; Va. Inst. Mar. Sci. Mar. Resourc. report 2004-12; 35 p.] NOAA Contract No. EA133F03SE0235.


NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Protected Species Branch
166 Water Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543-1026
Phone: (508) 495-2000
Fax: (508) 495-2258

Contact: Henry Milliken

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