Fish Pot Survey

In 2013 the Rhode Island Division of Marine Fisheries instituted a ventless fish pot survey to assess and standardize a time series of relative abundance for structure-oriented finfish (e.g., Scup, Black Sea Bass, Tautog) in Narragansett Bay. Data from this survey is used to evaluate the abundance and biological characteristics of species that have relatively low catchabilities in the demersal trawl survey.

Survey Design
Two types of ventless fish pots, a black sea bass style and a scup pot style, are set at stratified random station locations in Narragansett Bay.

Survey Gear
Fish pots are a passive fixed fishing gear, dropped to the seafloor and attached to a surface buoy by endlines. Traps are fished both baited and unbaited. Structure oriented fish may be attracted to the traps either by the bait or by the potential habitat provided by the trap structure.

Sampling Methods
Fish pots are set at randomly stratified locations throughout Narragansett Bay monthly. The unvented scup pots (2'x2'x2') are constructed of 1.5” x 1.5” coated wire mesh. The unvented Black Sea Bass Pots (43.5” L, 23” W, and 16” H) are also constructed of 1.5” x 1.5” coated wire mesh, single mesh entry head, and single mesh inverted parlor nozzle. Investigators set black sea bass pots in five pot trawls at two randomly selected stations within each subarea of Narragansett Bay. One trawl is set on structured bottom and one on bottom without structure. These traps are fished unbaited for a three-night soak. Investigators also set scup pots at ten randomly selected stations, five on structured bottom and five on bottom without structure, in one of the five sampling areas and left to soak for one night. All scup pots are baited with sea clams. Upon hauling all gear types, the catch is sorted by species. Finfish are measured for length and weighed. Invertebrates are measured using a species-specific appropriate metric or counted.

Sampling Frequency
The research project runs from approximately April through October annually.

For more information about the survey please contact Rich Balouskus