Environmental Monitors on Lobster Traps and Large Trawlers


Beginning in 2001, more than one hundred commercial fishing vessels on the Northeast Shelf now have oceanographic sensors installed on their fixed and mobile gear. Some have experimented with pressure sensors, acoustic listening devices, cameras, satellite-tracked drifters, current meters, and salinity monitors but the primary focus has been monitoring temperature. While some gear are fitted with internally-recording devices that have returned more than two decades of hourly data from fixed locations, about half the vessels are fitted with a satellite transmitter and/or cell phone so that ~30,000 hauls have reported in realtime. The original focus was on bottom temperature but, beginning in 2015, most vessels are now equipped with water column profilers to document the vertical stratification of temperature and several are collecting records of dissolved oxygen. 

The primary goal is to feed the data to both ocean models and stock assessment models.

The collection of eMOLT information is authorized under the OMB Control Number included in the Citizen Science & Crowdsourcing Information Collection page.

While the project was initiated at NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center in 2001, the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation leads the administration/operations along with several partners.

As we transition between two database systems, not all the data is stored in one place. To see some of the vessels with observed and modeled bottom temperatures still with the old database system click here.

To see a map of bottom temperature observations from the last month from both systems, click here.

To see an animation of raw temperature profiles from the last month, click here.

To see a sample of some news releases, click here.

To sign-up to see your detail data on private account, click here.

To see instructional videos on several eMOLT-related web portals, click here.

Funding comes from a variety of sources over many years including:

For more information on the project, how to get involved, what instruments are used, and where to find the data, contact george.maynard@noaa.gov.