Versar's fisheries team has been working with managers and industry for three decades in support of sustainable and prosperous US and international fisheries. Our team has conducted a variety of projects to help evaluate commercial fishing effort, harvest, and natural resource protection. We provide a full range of fisheries expertise, including the design and implementation of fishery dependent and independent surveys, stakeholder engagement, scientific observers, impact assessment, and regulatory and environmental review. Our diverse team includes fisheries biologists, marine and estuarine ecologists, water quality specialists, statisticians, data management specialists, and report production specialists. We have been providing expert fisheries support to most of the federal agencies responsible for managing the nation’s fisheries including the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the National Ocean Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Versar has also supported state government agencies and private companies with their fisheries management needs.
Our diverse experience includes commercial fishing and harvesting assessments. We have designed and conducted field surveys for commercial crabbing to provide Maryland and Virginia blue crab managers with statistically robust, Bay-wide estimates of the commercial blue crab fishing effort. We have also worked with multiple stakeholders to develop and evaluate blue crab harvest reporting tools. For this effort, Versar assembled an interdisciplinary team of experts to develop an electronic reporting system that allows blue crab fishermen to report their daily harvest with mobile technology. We also designed and implemented an observer program to monitor daily harvest reporting.
Versar's fisheries scientists also designed an oyster population survey for the NMFS to assess the demographics of oyster populations in two small Chesapeake Bay tributaries. Versar used geospatial modeling techniques to develop high resolution maps of oyster densities and other variables required to plan a large-scale oyster restoration project and evaluate its success.
Versar supported New York Power Authority (NYPA) with issues related to downstream passage of American eel past the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project. We developed five white papers for NYPA to evaluate the potential use of light, sound, chemical attractants/repellants, telemetry, and capture and transport methods for monitoring the movements and guiding out-migrating eels.
Versar supported the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center by working with local fishermen to identify areas where summer flounder are caught in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. Our specialists used underwater video and a sediment profiling camera to characterize benthic habitat and developed an index of essential habitat for summer flounder.