Winter flounder

Winter flounder Credit: Roz Davis illustration; Maine Dept. of Marine Resources Recreational Fisheries

What kind of trawl can trap squid but allow endangered winter flounder, above, to escape?

That’s the question under consideration by a team of marine scientists who are working with East End fishermen.

The answer to the question has to do with a special trawl add-on device that makes use of the following sea creature behaviors: flounder tend to dive as a net approaches, while squid rise.

Larry Penny, a columnist with the East Hampton Star, has written about two Montauk trawlers that are part of the study, saying, “A net that takes such an escape strategy into account is on the right track.” 

The team is led by several experts from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.

Funding is from the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation. The project has a very long title: “A Method to Reduce Winter Flounder Retention Through the Use of Avoidance Gear Adaptations in the Small Mesh Trawl Fishery” in the mid-Atlantic and southern New England waters.

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