Every year, anywhere between 15,000 and 25,000 metric tons of sea scallop meat are fished from mid-Atlantic waters; in 2010, sea scallop landings brought the seafood industry in the US nearly half a billion dollars.
Given the importance of the scallop population as a food source and an economic engine, managing it well is critical. A new project, called SubseaObservers (SO), will provide the US government with important data on the scallop fishery. The principal investigator is Dr. Art Trembanis of the University of Delaware.
An autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) has been set up to take photos of the sea floor. Once the photos have been collected, they are posted to the SO website, where participants like you can review and tag them. Data is then submitted to regulatory agencies to provide them with accurate information for the purposes of monitoring and setting catch limits.
“The goal of the project is to help scientists explore the ocean and monitor the health of the mid-Atlantic scallop fishery using underwater robots,” says developer Nick Wilkinson. “By signing up to contribute, participants will play a role in ocean conservation by helping organizations like NOAA make better decisions about how to manage the scallop fishery now and for future generations.”
Ready to start counting? You can register here.