Fisherman and Scientists Collaborate to Collect Climate Data



WOODS HOLE – Fishermen plying the waters off the southern New England coast have noticed significant changes in recent years.

Though generations of commercial fishermen have made their livings on these highly productive waters, now, they say, they are experiencing the impacts of climate change.

To help understand the ongoing changes in their slice of the ocean, fishermen in the region are now part of a fleet gathering much-needed climate data for scientists through a partnership with the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The Shelf Research Fleet Project began in 2014.

The fleet is made up of commercial fishing vessels that are fishing in or transiting through the study area throughout the year.

As part of the project staff from the foundation trained captains and crew members in how to take weekly measurements using a Conductivity, Temperature, and Depth  (CTD) instrument.

The data from the CTD is available in real-time to view onboard the fishing vessel using an iPad tablet.

Along with the CTD data, the fishermen can also include notes on the tide, weather conditions, and fish species observed in the area.

The data are then sent to researchers and are posted on a website that is accessible to the public.

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