Project 2.2 – Reducing seabed impacts of mobile fishing gears

This project is addressing research questions relating to the ecological impact of mobile fishing gears. It focuses on fisheries, regions, fleets and gear types relevant to Canada’s East and West coast fishing industries. Research Area 1 will design and evaluate various innovations in gear technology that could reduce the contact area and/or mechanical stress applied on the seabed by bottom trawls and dredges. The approach will use a combination of mathematical models, gear testing in flume tanks, and comparative fishing trials at sea. Research Area 2 will develop a Habitat Suitability Model by mapping bottom-dwelling animals together with environmental characteristics in the Northern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Research Area 3 will develop a method and computer software for assigning the expected economic losses associated with open/close fishery decisions to individual areas. The tool will be applied to B.C. coast fisheries in analyses of individual and multiple fishery decisions.


The expected outcomes of the project include:


  1. A series of knowledge exchanges across institutes and sectors.
  2. Expanded capacity in the design and evaluation of innovative fishing gears.
  3. A collaboration of habitat/fishing effort mapping tools between the universities and DFO.
  4. New visualizations in 3D for measuring biodiversity and bottom fishing-effort intensity.
  5. Identification of potential seafloor ‘hotspots’ of biodiversity that could be used for management and eco-certification.
  6. Decision support tools capable of assessing trade-offs between spatial management options and fishery economic value.


Project Leader Contact Information

Paul Winger
Memorial University of Newfoundland


Project Team

  • Alain Fréchet - Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Institut Maurice-Lamontagne
  • Antoine Rivierre - Merinov, Centre d’Innovation de l’Aquaculture et des Pêches du Québec
  • Ashleen Benson - Simon Fraser University post-doctoral fellow (2011-present)
  • Charlotte Moritz - Université du Québec à Rimouski post-doctoral fellow (2011-present)
  • Chris Acheson - Canadian Sablefish Association
  • Christina Burridge - British Columbia Seafood Alliance
  • Daniel Landry - Association des pêcheurs professionnels membres d'équipages (APPME)
  • David Orr - Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre
  • Harvey Jarvis - Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW)
  • Jean-Claude Brêthes - Université du Québec à Rimouski
  • Jean-Pierre Couillard - Association des capitaines propriétaires de la Gaspésie (ACPG)
  • Jean Lanteigne - Fédération Régionale Acadienne des Pêcheurs Professionnels (FRAPP)
  • Jim Boutillier - Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station
  • Keith Sullivan - Fish, Food and Allied Workers
  • Kent Gilkinson - Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre
  • Lyne Morissette - Université du Québec à Rimouski
  • Philippe Archambault - Université du Québec à Rimouski
  • Ren Genge - Fish, Food and Allied Workers
  • Sean Cox - Simon Fraser University
  • Serge Langelier - Agence Mamu Innu Kaikusseht (AMIK)
  • Truong Nguyen - Memorial University of Newfoundland graduate student (2011-present)