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O’Keefe to address AAAS
12.31.14 Dr._Cate_O’Keefe
SMAST Research Associate Dr. Catherine O’Keefe has been invited to address the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in San Jose, California, in February. Cate’s presentation is entitled “An Incentive-Led, Dynamic Communication Program in the U.S. Atlantic Scallop Fishery.”

Cate is the principal architect of the SMAST Bycatch Avoidance Program, which since 2010 has helped prevent bycatch-related closures of New Bedford’s $600 million scallop fishery.

When the scallop fleet reaches their limit of flounder bycatch, areas are closed to the fleet, preventing full harvest of scallops. In fact, from 2006 to 2009, the scallop fishery was closed early because it approached the flounder bycatch limit, costing the industry approximately $60 million.

Cate and other SMAST researchers worked with scallop fishermen to develop an information sharing system that enables fishermen to avoid bycatch hotspots. The program was implemented in 2010, and the fleet was able to catch their entire scallop allocation, while only catching one third of their bycatch limit, thus making the program a conservation success as well as an economic success. The program has grown over the last five years to include over 70% of the scallop fleet, and the fishery has not exceeded their bycatch limits since the program was introduced.

During the past year, Cate has been working with a group of researchers from both the east and west coasts of the U.S. to advance real-time ocean management. Along with colleagues from the group, she’ll be presenting results from that work at the conference.

Rothschild named Hjort Scholar
12.31.14 Brian_Rothschild
SMAST Prof. Emeritus Brian Rothschild has been appointed a Hjort Scholar by the Hjort Centre for Marine Ecosystem Dynamics, Bergen, Norway. According to the appointment letter, recipients of Hjort Scholarships are “… scientists whose research is deemed to promote scientific innovation and understanding of marine ecosystem dynamics.” The award includes a grant in the amount of 50.000 krone (~US$7000), which will be directed to research collaboration and proposal development with Centre scientists.

The center is named for Johan Hjort, widely considered to be the father of fisheries science.

In October, Dr. Rothschild delivered an invited address at the Johan Hjort Symposium on Recruitment Dynamics and Stock Variability in Bergen. The occasion for the symposium was the 100th anniversary of the publication of Hjort’s seminal book, Fluctuations in the Great Fisheries of Northern Europe. According to the symposium organizers, “The importance of [Hjort’s] volume cannot be overstated, particularly Hjort’s new conceptual ideas about the formation of strong year classes based on age determination from fish scales.”

Dr. Rothschild is Professor Emeritus and founding Dean of the UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology. He is currently President and CEO of the Center for Sustainable Fisheries (CSF), a science-based, non-profit organization “devoted to the onservation of our fisheries resources and the economic development of our fishing communities.”

New instrument unveiled at AGU
12.31.14 GTD_instrument
SMAST Professor Mark Altabet is part of a multi-institutional team that introduced a novel oceanographic instrument to the scientific community at December’s fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Researchers from the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory and SMAST/UMassD developed the instrument to monitor the biogeochemistry of oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) in the ocean on time scales impractical for shipboard studies.

The new Teflon-membrane-based “gas tension device” (GTD) measures the excess nitrogen gas microbially generated in OMZs, with a depth range from the surface to 550 meters, a significant advancement over previous GTD models. Two of the new instruments were field tested on floats deployed off Mexico’s Pacific coast for 15 days last summer, and the results were validated against independent measurements.

At the same meeting, SMAST Dean Steve Lohrenz presented an invited talk entitled "Assessing Impacts of Climate and Land Use Change on Terrestrial-Ocean Fluxes of Carbon and Nutrients and their Cycling in Coastal Ecosystems." Overall, seven SMAST personnel authored or co-authored posters or oral presentations at the AGU meeting, the largest earth and space science conference in the world.

O’Keefe receives Young Alumni Award
11.10.14 Dr._Cate_O’Keefe
SMAST Research Associate Dr. Catherine ‘Cate’ O’Keefe was awarded the UMass Dartmouth Young Alumni Award last Thursday at a ceremony at the Carney Library.

Cate’s most noted accomplishment, based on her dissertation research, offers a solution to a major problem in fisheries: “bycatch.”

New Bedford’s $600 million scallop fishery inadvertently catches flounders, but the flounder stocks have been overfished and are strictly regulated. So, when the scallop fleet reaches the limit of flounder bycatch, the scallop season officially ends. And in fact, from 2006 to 2009, the scallop fishery was closed early because it approached the flounder bycatch limit, costing the fleet approximately $60 million.

In the words of SMAST Prof. Steve Cadrin, who introduced Cate at the ceremony, “Cate worked closely with scallop fishermen to develop an information sharing system which [enables] fishermen to avoid bycatch hotspots.”

“The program was implemented in 2010, and the scallop fleet was allowed to stay open the entire year to catch their entire scallop allocation, while only catching one third of their bycatch limit,” Cadrin reported. “So it was a conservation success as well as an economic success.”

Cate is now working locally and abroad to share her research with other fisheries to solve their bycatch problems.

NOAA economist to be SMAST Visiting Scholar
10.20.14 John_Walden
John Walden, an economist with NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) in Woods Hole, has been appointed to the Social Sciences Visiting Scholar position at SMAST. He is replacing Min-Yang Lee, who has returned full-time to his duties in Woods Hole. John has been on staff with the NEFSC since 1987.

For the past 15 years, John’s research has focused on measuring technical efficiency, capacity and productivity in commercial fisheries. During that time he has built an internationally recognized research program in this area. He has developed research collaborations with faculty at a number of universities, as well as with the USDA Economic Research Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.

This summer, John organized fishery sessions at both the North American Productivity Workshop, and the Asia-Pacific Productivity Conference. Additionally, he led the national effort by NMFS to measure capacity in commercial fisheries in response to a request from Congress, and more recently developed productivity metrics which were applied to U.S. catch share fisheries.

John will be co-teaching a class with Prof. Dan Georgianna in the spring semester. He also plans to develop a fully on-line course, offered through SMAST, to be centered on fisheries economics for policy decisions.

[Reposted from October 17, 2014]

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