Fishermen, Scientists Collaborate to Collect Climate Data

Based on an original article published by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

In the waters of the southern New England coast, local fisherman are finding the ocean around them changing. “The water is warming up, and we see different species around than we used to,” says Kevin Jones, captain of the F/V Heather Lynn, which operates out of Point Judith, Rhode Island. 

Jones and others are working in partnership with the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (CFRF) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) to gather data needed to understand these changes. Each week, the fishermen take conductivity, temperature, and depth measurements using an RBRconcerto CTD. With Ruskin and an iPad tablet, they can view the data onboard their fishing vessels and post their results to a public website.

According to Anna Malek Mercer, research fleet director and CFRF executive director, “the Shelf Research Fleet embodies an approach to climate research that is extraordinary valuable for all parties involved. Scientists benefit from access to fine-scale oceanographic data as well as decades of fishermen’s observations.  And fishermen benefit from a better understanding of the ecosystem that they rely upon for their livelihoods. Over the long term, these partnerships and data sources can help inform the sustainable management of our ocean ecosystems in the face of a changing climate.”

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