Developing a way for fishers and whales to co-exist
Where we are today
We are in the middle of a NOAA grant where we are working on device development alongside fishers. By the end of this grant, our system will be tested by near shore fishers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.
We’ve been hard at work this summer, from Massachusetts to Maine. In June and July, we made trips to Bar Harbor, ME to stress test our enclosures both in deep water and for overnight deployments. We recently joined lobsterman Rob Martin as well as NOAA researchers Eric Matzen and Brian Galvez in Sandwich, MA. They were able to see the full LobsterLift system in action, hauling a three trap trawl in Cape Cod Bay. We are grateful for valuable feedback from each of them and to Rob for welcoming us aboard Resolve for the day.
In May, we brought aboard NOAA Fisheries Methods and Equipment Specialist, Nick Hopkins, to trial the full system with integrated acoustics in Gloucester Harbor. It was great to share our progress with Nick, and he joined us for a tour of the LobsterLift Lab and our newly-built Manufacturing Line. We had a number of productive conversations during Nick's two-day visit, learning from his experiences lobstering, trawling, and testing experimental gear. He provided valuable feedback and advice on our design to ensure the LobsterLift will be both tough and effective in the field.
In April, we welcomed aboard new team member, Will Carome, to help with building and testing LobsterLift systems alongside lobstermen. We began our 2022 testing season in Bar Harbor, Maine where we were successful in testing the LobsterLift with integrated acoustics out to 152 ft and look forward to pushing the system further this spring and into the summer!
The team had successes testing the full LobsterLift system with integrated acoustics out to 152 ft depth. We're looking forward to pushing the system further when we get back on the water later this summer.
The LobsterLift team is currently integrating multiple acoustics communications systems, and building units for testing with lobstermen. In the photo above, Ted is getting ready to toss the LobsterLift overboard to pressure test the housing at 182ft depth! This is all made possible by the NOAA Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program grant.
A brief history
It all started at a prototyping competition in Malaysia hosted by Conservation X Labs. From there, it's continued to be developed into a system tested in the ocean environment by fishers.
" ...a team of conservation-minded engineers set about finding a solution for the problem of right whale entanglements—while also keeping in mind the needs of lobster fishing families. The winners of last year’s Make for the Planet Borneo hackathon at the 5th annual International Marine Conservation Congress came up with a device they dubbed LobsterLift."