Harvesting Systems Unit

Dive Team inspecting a trawl net
Dive Team inspecting a trawl net in the mid-1980s
Photo Credit: NOAA

NOAA Dive Team rides a trawl during TED certification operations
A member of the NOAA Dive Team "rides" a trawl during TED certification operations
Photo Credit: NOAA

TED inspection procedures
Harvesting Systems personnel demonstrate TED inspection procedures
Photo Credit: NOAA

technology transfer activity with Indian fishermen
Harvesting Systems personnel participate in technology transfer activity with Indian fishermen
Photo Credit: NOAA

The Harvesting Systems Unit is a component of the NOAA Fisheries Service Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Mississippi Laboratories, Harvesting and Engineering Division. The Harvesting Systems Unit is a team of fishery biologists and gear specialists performing research into critical problems of fisheries resource management as it relates to commercial and recreational fishing gear. Unit staff possess a working knowledge of the mechanics, design, and operation of various types of commercial and scientific sampling gear including shrimp and fish trawls, longlines, traps and gillnets. The unit has developed specialized SCUBA diving techniques as a means of studying active fishing gear and the behavior of marine fauna in relation to working gear. Many of the unit's accomplishments are the result extensive testing and evaluation of new gear concepts in partnership with commercial fishing industries in the Southeast U.S. region.


The missions of the unit are to: Provide national fisheries gear engineering support in the development, fishery-dependent assessment and implementation of more efficient and environmentally friendly fishing gear; Provide fisheries sampling gear engineering support for NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fisheries Science Center resource survey cruises; Staff, operate, and maintain Mississippi Laboratories small vessels conducting a variety of scientific missions; Provide SCUBA diver support for commercial and scientific sampling gear development; Conduct U.S. and international outreach and training to fishers in the use of federally required fishing gear designed to reduce the bycatch of protected marine species.


The Harvesting Systems Unit staff posses a unique blend of expertise and experience that has been extremely effective in partnering with the commercial fishing industry to accomplish the unit's missions. The Unit of consists of fisheries biologists with expertise in fishing gear technology, fisheries science, fish behavior, and underwater camera and ROV systems as well as a team of Fisheries Methods and Equipment Specialists (FMES) with expertise and experience in commercial fishing operations, commercial and sampling gear construction and fishing vessel operation and maintenance.

Harvesting Systems Unit accomplishments include:

With increasing demand on fisheries resources by various user groups, there is an ever increasing need for efficient and more selective fishing gears. Expertise in fishing gear technology is increasing in the U.S. and internationally as fisheries managers require innovative technologies and strategies to effectively manage marine resources. The NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fisheries Science Center's Harvesting Systems Unit is uniquely qualified to develop gear-based solutions to future challenges in fisheries resource management.

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