Sea Scallop Research: Stock Assessment Using Video Surveys

Survey Map 2003
Image courtesy of Norman Vine at

Video survey map, 2003. The hatched area indicates about 2000 stations on a three-nautical mile grid.

Since 1999 SMAST scallop researchers, with members of the commercial sea scallop industry, support from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and the sea scallop TAC-set-aside program (NOAA grants), have completed 26 video and tagging cruises to Georges Bank. These cruises have resulted in 700 hours of video footage and 17,000 digital images covering 7500 km2 of sea floor at a 1.5 km (0.85 nautical miles) resolution. This database provides assessments of scallop and other macroinvertebrate abundance, size structure, spatial distribution, plus sediment and habitat distributions in closed and open fishing areas of Georges Banks from 1999 onward.

With funds from the Department of Marine Fisheries and strong support from the industry we are expanding these surveys beginning in May 2003. We will survey the scallop aggregations from Virginia to the Hague line (the boarder between US and Canadian waters) on a three-nautical mile grid totaling about 2000 stations, indicated by the hatched area in the survey map. At each station four video images of the sea floor will be collected.

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