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Pilot fish survey taps industry expertise – comes amid intense criticism of traditional scientific methods for counting fish.

Fish sampling surveys provide critical data for assessing the health of fish populations, which are at the core of fishing rules. Critics say the assessments have proven to be deeply flawed and it’s wrong to use them as the basis for setting the struggling industry’s catch limits. Scientists say their overall methods are sound, but they acknowledge some consistent problems. “We can learn, and we do want to build confidence and be responsive,” said Bill Karp, the Northeast’s chief federal fisheries scientist. The pilot survey was more expansive, covering 175 stations in Georges Bank compared with about 60 in a typical survey, said Steve Cadrin, a former federal fisheries scientist who works at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. [email protected]  08:58