Virginia Marine Resource Bulletin
Volume 42, Number 2, Summer 2010
Five graduate students have been named Collaborative Fisheries Research Graduate Fellows for the 2010–2011 school year. This new fellowship provides an academic year of funding for research projects that involve members of the fishing industry and aim to develop new fishing gear or conservation equipment. The fellowship is sponsored by Virginia Sea Grant, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), the University of New Hampshire, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the Northeast Consortium, and the NOAA Southeast Fisheries Science Center.
Craig O’Connell will be conducting his PhD research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to learn whether permanent magnets could be used to reduce bycatch of spiny dogfish and smooth-hound dogfish in commercial fisheries intended to target other species. O’Connell has studied sharks in the Bahamas, South Carolina, Malta, and Massachusetts. In addition to presenting at several scientific conferences, he has lent his expertise to television specials about sharks on the History Channel, National Geographic, and Discovery Channel. O’Connell holds a master’s in elasmobranch conservation from Coastal Carolina University and a bachelor’s in marine science from Boston University.
Sally Roman will be conducting her master’s research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to develop new fishing gear that will reduce bycatch of young, undersized fish. Roman has worked closely with industry in the past. She began her marine science career as a fisheries observer in the Northeast for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. As a project manager for the Study Fleet Project, Roman oversaw surveys of groundfish populations and designed survey strategies. Through these experiences, Roman saw the importance of working with industry to implement change. Roman holds a bachelor’s in marine science from Jacksonville University.
Noelle Yochum is a PhD candidate at Oregon State University proposing to research how the implementation of a new regulation will affect the gear that fishermen use. Yochum first became interested in fishing gear in Baja, California, and she was fascinated by how catch is determined by the combination of fish behavior and the gear used. She went on to conduct other research involving fishing gear, always striving to involve members of the fishing industry as much as possible. Yochum holds a master’s in marine science from VIMS and a bachelor’s in biology from the University of California, San Diego.
Steve Eayrs will conduct his PhD research at the University of New Hampshire, possibly on how trawl nets could be improved to reduce the catch of small fish while lowering drag on the net, thereby reducing fuel costs. Eayrs has been involved in the commercial fishing industry for more than 25 years, beginning his career as a commercial fisherman in Australia. Since then, he has gone on to lecture at Australian Maritime College and Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine. He has also conducted research and has written five books and more than 30 articles on fish behavior and fishing technology research, improvement, and testing. Eayrs holds a master’s in fisheries and a bachelor’s in fisheries technology, both from Australian Maritime College.
Michel “Tony” Nalovic will begin his master’s research at VIMS to test new gear for further reducing sea turtle bycatch in the shrimp trawling industry. When the fishing industry is invited into the research process, Nalovic has seen something amazing. Industry begins to lead government and nongovernmental organizations in developing more sustainable practices and gear. Nalovic, a native of French Guiana, has been a scientist working with industry and NGOs around the world for nearly ten years. He has tested gear in Africa, evaluated pollution in Iraq, studied fuel consumption of shrimp vessels, and worked with the World Wildlife Fund to establish common objectives in the shrimp and finfish industries.