New England’s Cod Quota Drops Again! The Problem Could Be a R/V Bigelow Trawl Issue

To whom this may concern. The Northeast Trawl Advisory Panel has been working on the overspreading issue and their solution is to put a restrictor rope between the doors to keep them from overspreading the net. This is not a realistic solution, as different depths need different lengths of wire, also one door striking a big rock, or any hang would affect the track of the other door. My question is why is overspreading occurring?!!

Commercial fishermen have concluded the doors are too big for net, or the net is too small for the doors. Fisherman know over spreading the net causes lift, off ocean bottom and height of the net is lessened.

I believe, R/V Bigelow catches high water column fish species like haddock, pollack, and redfish adequately but codfish dive when threatened and are mostly going under the Bigelow overspread net which also misses most flounders too!!

I also believe that NOAA nets have been overspreading since the R/V Delaware (side-trawler which towed from the side where the main towing were together), then came R/V Delaware ll, a stern trawler main towing wires that were 17 feet apart, where overspreading begins. Then, R/V Albatross, 10 feet apart, and now R/V Bigelow 37 feet apart. These are the number given!

My recommendation on how to fix R/V Bigelow overspreading issue:

1, put main wires together
2. shorten back straps on the doors,
3. hook the legs to doors as the shrimpers do.
4.Build a net to suit the R/V Bigelow.
5. Use other methods for stock assessments besides trawl surveys.
Respectfully, Captain Sam Novello, Gloucester, Mass