NEAMAP Field Methods
NEAMAP fishes from the F/V Darana R, a 90' commercial trawler out of Hampton, VA. The F/V Darana R is captained by Jimmy Ruhle from Wanchese, NC. The vessels crew includes two mates; Bobby Ruhle and Rigo Rodriguez, who deploy and retrieve all fishing gear.
To assure comparability with NEFSC surveys conducted from their new vessel, NEAMAP adopted the bottom trawl developed for the NEFSC by the joint Mid-Atlantic/New England Trawl Survey Advisory Panel. We use a 4 seam, 3 bridle, 400 x 12 cm net with a cookie sweep and 1" knotless liner in the cod end. The doors are 66" Thyboron Type IV.
The NEAMAP Survey uses a Netmind digital trawl monitoring system manufactured by Northstar Technical, Inc. We use 6 Netmind sensors - one on each wing, one on the headrope, one on each door and a catch sensor in the cod end. This allows us to measure the net width and height, along with door spread in real time to assure the net is fishing properly. We place the catch sensor in the cod end so that it "trips" when the catch has reached ~5,000 lbs. During trawling operations, trawl monitoring sensors provide near-real-time measures of gear performance, enabling the Captain and crew to adjust tow speeds and scope to obtain the optimum fishing geometry of the net. Equally important, these data are saved to computer files which, when combined with tow distance information from the GPS, allow subsequent data analyses (such as the generation of abundance estimates) to be performed on an area-swept basis. Such analyses provide standard adjustments for tow-to-tow differences in tow speed, tow duration, current speed, and so on.
NEAMAP has two cruises a year, occurring in the spring and fall. Each cruise samples approximately 150 stations broken down into 15 regions ranging from Cape Hatteras, NC north to Cape Cod, MA. NEAMAP samples near shore water to a depth of 60 feet and includes the sounds to 120 feet (see survey map). At each station the net is trawled along the bottom for 20 minutes, at a speed of 2.9-3.3 knots. Work is completed during daylight hours and each cruise takes approximately 28-30 days to complete.Pictured below: NEAMAP survey area map broken into 15 regions