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Tracking Cod with Sonar

by the Fish Site Editor
18 August 2009, at 1:00am

DURHAM, UK University of New Hampshire researchers are using new sonar technologies to study cod populations in New England waters.

"Cod is considered the iconic species of the New England fishery," Hunt Howell, UNH professor of zoology, told SeaCoastOnline.com. "There are concerns about their population status, so using acoustic technologies can help researchers learn more about their abundance and habitat preferences."

According to the news report, multi-beam sonar has been used to map ocean bottom characteristics and researchers are now applying the technology to estimate cod abundance and spatial distribution. With funding from N.H. Sea Grant, Chris Gurshin, a Ph.D. candidate in zoology at UNH, is working with Howell to demonstrate the advantage of multi-beam sonar over more traditional methods of fisheries stock assessment.

Trawl surveys are typically used to determine fish abundance, but they can be time-consuming and relatively expensive. Acoustic surveys can also eliminate the unintended mortality of fish that occurs during trawling. New acoustic technology also allows researchers to cover larger areas at a presumably reduced cost because all the work is conducted remotely, he added.

the Fish Site Editor