One of the most powerful tools to solve some of the challenges that we have is cooperative research. It serves a couple of purposes.
- It puts money in the hands of fishermen who are having a hard time making ends meet with the amount of fish available to catch.
- It begins to address and maybe answer some of these complex questions about habitat and stock differentiation and fish migration. It's a lot more subtle than figuring out what the best mesh size or fish size is.
- It gives the fishermen a little more confidence in the science. This (net) is an example of just one of the projects we've done with GMRI. We've done a number of projects that have always been worthwhile and gratifying. This is a GearNet project. It's a larger mesh size than 6½ inch that's required by law, but it's far more stable than the knotted twine that in the northern climate has a tendency to elongate over time. What we have found is that our discards relative to our catch have dropped substantially, but like everything else it leads to more work and more projects.
I think fishermen need science partners that are committed to have a stake in the success in the fishery. We need somebody who wants to see the fishing industry a success because that makes them a success, and I think this is a partnership that achieves that objective, and I strongly support it.