BOSTON (AP) - Federal scientists have completed a pilot project in which they relied heavily on the expertise of fishermen to survey the health of flatfish species off New England.
The survey of flatfish, such as flounder, came as scientific methods for counting fish are under fire. Critics say it's unreliable and a poor basis for setting fishermen's catch limits.
The survey, conducted this month, put new focus on certain geographic areas suggested by fishermen. It also used different nets and operated from two commercial fishing boats, rather than the federal research vessel normally used.
Fishery scientists say data from such surveys can bolster population estimates, both now and in the future. That's if the government can pay for them. That's a potential difficulty, since the recent survey cost roughly a half million dollars.