Fisheries Observer Programs and Info


THE PACIFIC COAST FEDERATION OF FISHERMEN’S ASSOCIATIONS

Fisheries Observer Program Links and Contacts

The intent of this web page is to bring together in one location information on fisheries observer programs from around the world. Currently, information on fisheries monitoring is scattered and rarely reaches the public. Yet, observer data is used by scientists, wildlife and fisheries managers, marine conservationists and many others and is often the foundation for reports on the status of any given fishery. Observer programs are thus vital to sustainable fisheries management around the globe.

However, unless substantially more funding is provided for quality monitoring and stock assessment programs, such as surveys and observer programs, there will always be a shortage of good data upon which to monitor and manage the world’s fisheries. Without observer programs, fisheries managers are operating on guess-work with little other choice but to be extremely conservative, which sometimes results in drastic and unnecessary cuts in fishing or temporary or permanent closures. Worse, population over-estimates based on inadequate data can also lead to severe overfishing to the long-term detriment of entire fishing-dependent communities. It is thus in the best interests of both fisheries managers and fishermen themselves to have an accurate database from which to determine truly sustainable levels of harvest.

Contact us if you have questions about the various observer programs, if you have comments on what has been presented here and, especially, if you have more recent or additional information for this page. This page will be periodically updated to assure that the information is current and useful.

For marine conservation issues relating to observers programs, labor issues and other issues facing fisheries observers see: Association for Professional Observers

An Essay:

WHY FISHERMEN SHOULD SUPPORT A WEST COAST

GROUNDFISH OBSERVER PROGRAM

by Elizabeth Mitchell Association for Professional Observers

From Fishermen’s News, January 2000

An observer program for the West Coast Groundfish fishery fell through the cracks this year, even with strong support from fishermen, marine conservation groups and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Clinton requested two million specifically for the West Coast last year but it fell dead at the Congressional level. Yet, without basic data collection systems like the observer program, there is no way to know what level of catch is sustainable until it is too late to prevent a crash. Now, more than ever, support is needed to find a way to fund the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program.

How Will an Observer Program Help Fishermen?

The current loss of harvest opportunities is a direct result of a shortage of data. Innovative methods need to be explored to find a way to fund more surveys, data analysis and a bonafide coast-wide observer program. Although groundfish fishermen are hurting this year, if everyone pulls together now, perhaps in 10 years the West Coast groundfish fisheries will be worth something.

Answers to three basic questions are required to manage a fishery: 1) How many fish are there? 2) How many can be taken and still sustain the fishery? and 3) How much of each species is being removed by fishing? For West Coast groundfish fisheries, all three questions remain largely unknown. If we don’t implement observer programs in our fisheries to determine what’s being removed, there won’t be a future in any fishery. Without observer data and under the current trip limit management strategy, the fishery simply cannot be properly managed. Keeping our heads in the sand regarding bycatch is not going to make the fish come back to a sustainable level. Good data may also show whether the current drastic closures are even warranted.

What’s Been Done Toward Implementing a West Coast Observer Program?

An observer program for West Coast groundfish fisheries has been in the development stages for over a decade. From 1995-1998, a voluntary pilot observer program was developed for the trawl fishery by the Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Oregon Trawl Commission, with assistance from the Pacific States Fishery Management Commission (PSFMC) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). However, because of the voluntary nature of this program, called the Enhanced Data Collection Program, placement of observers was sometimes difficult. This also made data analysis complicated. However, the EDCP got the ball rolling and worked out some bugs for the implementation of a coast-wide observer program. It should be formalized, expanded and, most important, fully funded.

Although the EDCP data has yet to be fully analyzed, preliminary data shed light on bycatch issues with the trawl fishery and revealed a major hole in the management equation. Currently, this is the only source of data on discards from this fishery besides a study done in the mid-80s, (referred to as the Pikitch study). The Pikitch study is what NMFS and the Pacific Fishery Management Council still use to determine discards for this fleet. However, the West Coast trawl fishery has undergone some major changes since the 1980s. What remains unknown is whether the bycatch rates from either data set accurately reflect the rest of the fleet. Because West Coast groundfish fishermen are not required to record discards, no one has a clear picture of what is being removed from West Coast stocks.

More comprehensive data, that could be gathered through a mandatory observer program, is urgently needed to follow up on the smaller scale efforts of the Pikitch and EDCP studies. With it, there will be more certainty regarding management, instead of operating on guess-work. Without it, NMFS and the Council will have no other choice but to continue to take the precautionary approach, resulting in lowered quotas, which may not be necessary. Without observer data, there will certainly never be a sustainable fishery.

What Can Fishermen Do?

The West Coast Groundfish Observer Program is now ready to get started, but funding remains uncertain. According to Vicki Cornish, a fisheries biologist with the National Observer Program at NMFS in DC, Congress is “attempting to maintain some equity in funding observer programs nation-wide. NMFS is now working toward standardizing the funding source, whether it be from Industry or fully funded from the Congressional level.” This is where fishermen, observers and conservationists all need to make our voice heard. Contact your fishing association and make sure they are up on this issue. Tell your Congressional Representatives, the Council, and NMFS administrative officials to provide full funding for a coast-wide groundfish observer program. Of all groups, fishermen are most affected by a fisheries collapse, and should be leading the charge for data collection programs to prevent a collapse from occurring and to maintain a sustainable future.

Elizabeth Mitchell is a Certified Professional Observer and an officer of the Association for Professional Observers (APO). To reach APO, contact Kim Dietrich at <kdiet@aa.net>. The mailing address is: Association for Professional Observers P.O. Box 30167, Seattle, Washington 98103.

International Aggreements Requiring or Recommending Observer Programs

FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries

FAO Consultation: Seabirds and Sharks

Pacific Salmon Treaty

High Seas/ International Programs

CCAMLR

IATTC

North Pacific Joint Observer Program (driftnet: 1989-1991)

Canadian Programs

There are about 40 observer programs in Canada. For detailed information on specific programs contact the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The Observer Program Coordinators for the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) are as follows: Gulf Region: Cod; Groundfish, Mobile Gear; Herring; Northern Shrimp; Snow Crab Area 12

Ron Manderson, Observer Program Coordinator DFO-Maritime Region P.O. Box 5030, 343 Archibald St. Moncton, NB E1c9B6 Canada Tel: (506) 851-2088 Fax: (506) 851-2504 E-mail: mandersonr@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Newfoundland Region: Groundfish and Shrimp Fisheries (North Atlantic Fishery Organization (NAFO) Regulatory Area); Large Pelagics; Groundfish (Except Cod); North Atlantic Shrimp; Re-Opened Cod Fishery; Scallops; Small Pelagics; Snow Crab

Ben Rogers, Observer Program Coordinator DFO-Newfoundland Region P.O. Box 5667 St. John’s, NF A1C5X1 Canada Tel: (709) 772-4495 Fax: (709) 772-5983 E-mail: rogersb@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Laurentian Region: Crab; Scallop; Shrimp; Northern Shrimp; Groundfish Mobile Gear; Groundfish Fixed Gear

John Chouinard, Observer Program Coordinator DFO-Laurentian Region 104 Dalhousie Quebec City, PQ G1K7Y7 Canada Tel: (418) 648-5887 Fax: (418) 648-7981 E-mail: chouinardjo@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Scotia-Fundy Fisheries—Maritimes Region: Bluefin Tuna (Domestic); Bluefin Tuna (Foreign); Crab; Groundfish Fixed Gear; Groundfish Mobile Gear; Large Pelagics (Shark); Large Pelagics (Swordfish); Lobster (Offshore); Scallops (Inshore); Scallops (Offshore); Shrimp (Northern); Shrimp (Scotian Shelf); Shrimp (Other); Silver Hake (Domestic); Silver Hake (Foreign); Small Pelagics; Surf Clams; Test/Experimental

Hugh Parker, Observer Program Coordinator DFO-Maritime Region P.O. Box 550 Station “M” Halifax, NS B3J2S7 Canada Tel: (902) 426-5850 Fax: (902 426-5850 E-mail: parkerh@mar.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Pacific Region: Domestic Trawl Fishery; Joint Venture Hake Fishery

Barry Ackerman, Observer Program Coordinator DFO-Pacific Region 555 W. Hastings St. Vancouver, BC V6B 5G3 Canada Tel: (604) 666-3991 Fax: (604) 666-8525 E-mail: ackermanb@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

New Release: Tobin Explains Need for 100% Observer Coverage in Canada

News Release: NAFO Confirms 100% Observer Coverage in Canada

United States Programs

General Statutes and Resources

National Marine Fisheries Service Home Page

Magnusun-Stevens Fishery Management Conservation Act

Marine Mammal Protection Act

Endangered Species Act

Association for Professional Observers

National Oceanic and Atomospheric Administration. 1998. Technical Guidance on the use of precautionary approaches to implementing National Standard One of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. NOAA Technical Memorandum.

U.S. Programs by Geographic Area

Alaska: Federally Managed Fisheries

Groundfish: Trawl, Longline, Pot

Target species: pollock, sablefish, Pacific cod, flatfish (greenland turbot, yellowfin sole), rockfish Bycatch: finfish bycatch varies with fishery Interactions with Protected Species: Short-tailed albatross (endangered) and sperm whales (endangered) caught in longline fisheries; Stellar Sea lions interact with trawl vessels; thousands of seabirds are caught in longline operations and also thousands of seabirds “storm” (hit) all vessels (especially around breeding colonies) because of poor visibility caused by a combination of stormy conditions and bright lighting of vessels.

For more information, contact:

Daniel Ito, Task Leader North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program Alaska Fisheries Science Center AKFNC Bin C700 2700 Sand Point Way N.E. Seattle, Washington 98112 Tel: 206/526-4044 Fax: 206/526-4026 E-mail: Daniel.Ito@noaa.gov

See the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program home page

Alaska: State Managed Fisheries

Shellfish (Aleutian Islands King Crab Pot Fishery; Bering Sea Korean Horsehair Crab Pot Fishery; Bering Sea King Crab and Tanner Crab Pot Fisheries; Statewide Scallops Dredge Fishery (Except Cook Inlet)):

Aleutian Islands King Crab Pot Fishery Target: Golden king crab (also red king crab but this fishery has been closed since 1996) Bycatch: Female and sublegal golden king crab, Pacific cod, snails, sculpins, red king crab Interactions with Protected Species: Steller sea lion, gray whale, Pacific whitesided dolphin, northern elephant seal, Dall’s porpoise, Harbor seal, California sea lion, northern fulmar, shearwaters, storm-petrels, puffins and other seabirds.

Bering Sea Korean Horsehair Crab Pot Fishery Target species: Korean Horsehair crab Bycatch: Female and sublegal Korean horsehair crab (also sorting of legal crab for crab that will fetch a higher price), tanner crab, red adn blue king crab, sculpin and snails, (octopus?) Interactions with Protected Species: ?

Bering Sea King Crab and Tanner Crab Pot Fisheries Target species: Red and blue king crab, tanner and snow crab Bycatch: Female and sublegal male crab, non-targeted crab, Pacific cod, sculpin, snails, (octopus?) Interactions with Protected Species: ?

Statewide Scallops Dredge Fishery (except Cook Inlet) Target species: Weathervane scallop Byatch: Tanner crab, sole, skates, starfish Interactions with Protected Species: ? For more information, contact:

Larry Boyle Alaska Department of Fish and Game P.O. Box 920587 Dutch Harbor, Alaska 99692 Tel: (907) 581-1219 Fax: (907) 581-1572 E-mail: larryb@fishgame.state.ak.us

Groundfish and shellfish training headquarters:

Observer Training Center (University of Alaska)

Salmon Fisheries

ADF & G Troll Vessel Observer Program

West Coast: Federally Managed Fisheries

California/Oregon Drift Gillnet Fishery

Manager: National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Region, Fisheries Observer Branch

Target Species: swordfish, thresher shark. Other Commercially Landed Species: mako sharks, opah, louvar, tunas (albacore, yellowfin, bluefin). Bycatch: blue shark, pelagic stingray, striped marlin, and molas. Interactions with Protected Speices: sperm whale, short-finned pilot whale, Minke whale, long-beaked common dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, Dall’s porpoise, Pacific white-sided dolphin, northern right whlae dolphin, Cuvier’s and Baird’s beaked whales, and Mesoplodon beaked whales, California sea lion and northern elphant seals, seabirds, sea turtles. No. of active vessels: 110 Percent Observer Coverage: just over 12% (1996)-check more recent For more information, contact:

Donald Petersen National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Regional 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200 Long Beach, California 90802-4213 Tel: (562) 980-4024 Fax: (562) 980-4027 E-mail: don.petersen@noaa.gov

West Coast: State Managed Fisheries

Groundfish, Trawl: Pacific Whiting, Shoreside Landings Target species: Pacific Whiting Other commercially landed species: ? Bycatch: ? Interaction with Protected Species: ? No. of boats in fishery: 40 Percentage of Observer Coverage: 14% (1997)

For more information, contact:

Hal Weeks, Observer Program Coordinator Oregon Dept. of Fish & Game 2040 SE Marine Science Drive Newport, Oregon 97365 Tel: (541) 867-0300 (check) Fax: (541) 867-0311 E-mail: hal.weeks@hmsc.orst.edu

Set Net Gillnet

Target: Swordfish, Thresher Shark Other Commercially Landed Species: ? Bycatch: ? Interaction with Protected Species: ? (Category I fishery, so marine mammals are caught frequently) Number of vessels: 10, operating in Oregon and California Number of observers: 2

For more information, contact:

Donald Petersen National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Region 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200 Long Beach, California 90802-4213 Tel: (562) 980-4024 Fax: (562) 980-4027 E-mail: don.petersen@noaa.gov

NMFS, Southwest Region, Fisheries Observer Branch, Gillnet fisheries

NMFS, Southwest Region, Fisheries Observer Program

Spot Prawn Trawl and Spot Prawn Trap Fishery

Target Species: Spot Prawn Other Commercially Landed Species: ? Bycatch: ? Interactions with Protected Species: ? No. of boats: ? No. of observers: ? Observer coverage: Target is 10%

This fishery will be occurring sometime in August 2000 and vessels operate from San Francisco to San Diego. The program will be funded by user fees that will be rolled into the permit fee. Permits will be issued to vessels based on landings in 1998 & 1999. The intention of the observer program is to document type and magnitude of bycatch. The program’s intention for now is not to arrive at total bycatch, but to document potential bycatch problem areas and to make recommendations for bycatch reduction. The program will be mandatory and the protocol of observer placement is up to the discretion of the California Department of Fish & Game.

For more information, contact:

Paul Reilly California Department of Fish and Game Monterey Bay, California Tel: (831) 649-2879 Fax: E-mail: p.reilly@dfg.ca.gov

Jerry Spratt California Department of Fish and Game Monterey Bay, California Tel: (831) 649-2880 Fax: E-mail: j.spratt@dfg.ca.gov

Ocean Salmon Project

Target Species: ? Bycatch: ? Interaction with Protected Species: marine mammals, seabirds? No. of Boats: ? No. of Observers: 8 Observer Coverage: ?

For more information, contact:

Melody Palmer-Zwahlen 1528 Healdsburg Ave. Healdsburg, California 95448 Tel: (707) 431-2687 Fax: E-mail: mpalmerz@dfg2.ca.gov

Northeast: Federally Managed Fisheries

Atlantic Sea Scallop Dredge Fishery Target Species: Atlantic sea scallop Other Commercially Landed Species: Monkfish, winter flounder, summer flounder, yellowtail flounder, lobster, crabs Bycatch: Sublegal crab, spotted hake, many flounder species Interactions with Protected Species: None observed No. of Vessels: 355 Observer Coverage: 1.5%

Northeast Fisheries Science Center: See Scallop Observer Program

Giant Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Purse Seine Fishery Target Species: Giant Atlantic bluefin tuna Other Commercially Landed Species: None observed Bycatch: None observed. Interactions with Protected Species: Pilot whales, Minke whale, humpback whale. No. of Vessels: 5 Observer Coverage: 95.6%

Large Pelagic Drift Gillnet Fishery (information for 1996) Target Species: Swordfish Other Commercially Landed Species: Bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna, albacore, mako, sharks, thresher sharks Bycatch: Bluefin tuna, skipjack tuna, manta rays, ocean sunfish, sharks Interactions with Protected Species: Common dolphins, beaked whales (several species), striped dolphins, pilot whales, spotted dolphins. Of these caught, 98% were killed No. of Vessels: About 30 Observer Coverage: 81%

Lobster Pot Fishery (information for 1996) Target Species: American lobster. Other Commercially Landed Species: Red hake, black seabass. Bycatch: None observed. Interactions with Protected Species: None observed. No. of Vessels: ? Observer Coverage: 0.1%

New England and Mid-Atlantic Gillnet Fisheries (information for 1996) Target Species: Atlantic Cod, pollock, flounder, spiny and smooth dogfish, monkfish, Atlantic croaker, weakfish, bluefish, mackerel, menhaden, shad, spot, Spanish mackerel, striped bass. Other Commercially Landed Species: Winter skate, clearnose skate, sea robin, Atlantic herring, little skate. Bycatch: ? Interactions with Protected Species: Harbor porpoise, harbor seal, harp seal, gray seal, common dolphin, white-sided dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, greater shearwater, northern gannet, cormornt, common loon, thin-billed murres, great black-backed gulls, sooty shearwater, loggerhead turtles No. of Vessels: 600 Observer Coverage: 5-7% Northwest Atlantic Trawl Fishery Target Species: Northern shrimp, groundfish (New England Multispecies), monkfish, summer flounder, squid, Atlantic mackerel, scup, spiny dogfish, weakfish, bluefish, Atlantic croaker, horsehair crab. Other Commercially Landed Species: Butterfish, monkfish, sharks, weakfish, bluefish, flounders, croaker, hakes, black seabass, dogfish, skates, sturgeon, swordfish tautog, tilefish tunas and lobster. Bycatch: Invertebrates, sublegals of landed species. Interactions with Protected Species: Common dolphins, pilot whales, loggerhead turtles, seabirds. No. of Vessels: ? Observer Coverage: Less than 1%.

For more information on the above six fishery observer programs, contact:

Darryl Christensen, Chief Fisheries Sampling Branch NOAA/NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center 166 Water St. Woods Hole, Massachusetts 02543 Tel: (508) 495-2351 Fax: (508) 495-2258 E-mail: darryl.christensen@noaa.gov

Northeast Fishery Observer Program

Northeast: State Managed FisheriesSoutheast: Federally Managed Fisheries

Southeastern Shrimp Otter Trawl Fishery Target Species: Penaeid shrimp Other Commercially Landed Species: None observed Bycatch: Red snapper, groundfish (Atlantic croaker and longspine porgy) Interactions with Protected Species: Bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles No. of Vessels: ? Observer Coverage: Less than 1%

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Scott-Denton Bycatch Observer Program Manager 4700 Avenue U Galveston, Texas 77551 Tel: (409) 766-3571 Fax: (409) 766-3508 E-mail: elizabeth.scott-denton@noaa.gov

Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) Longline Observer Program Target Species: Swordfish Other Commercially Landed Species: Yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, albacore tuna, mahi mahi (dolphin fish), sharks for the fin market (shortfin, mako, porbeagle) Bycatch: Billfish, sharks, bluefin tuna, escolar, oilfish, lancetfish, rays and rare species (cubiceps, ringed dogfish) Interactions with Protected Species: Marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds No. of Vessel Permits: 1000+ (250-300 active) Observer Coverage: 2.5-5%

For more information, contact:

Cheryl Brown SEFSC Miami Laboratory 75 Virginia Beach Dr. Miami, Florida 33149 Tel: (305) 361-4275 Fax: (305) 361-4562 E-mail: cheryl.brown@noaa.gov Dennis Lee Tel: (305) 361-4247 E-mail: dennis.lee@noaa.gov

Commercial Shark Fisheries Observer Program (Longline)

Shark Drift Gillnet Observer Program

Southeast: State Managed FisheriesHawaii and Pacific Islands: Federally Managed Fisheries

Pelagic Longline Fishery

Target Species: Swordfish, Tunas (bigeye, yellowfin, albacore, skipjack), Other Commercially Landed Species: Marlin (blue, striped, shortbill spearfish), mako shark, mahi-mahi (dolphin fish), wahoo, opah, barracuda, and pomfrets Bycatch: sharks (blue, oceanic white tip, thresher), pelagic stingray, lancet fish, snake mackerel, escolar, and oilfish Interactions with Protected Species: Sea Turtles, Albatrosses and other seabirds, sperm whales, Risso’s dolphins, short-finned pilot whales, false killer whales

Several species of sea turtles are in decline in this region, as well as both species of albatrosses. The endangered short-tailed albatross has been returning to a breeding site in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands for over a decade and has been seen in the vacinity of areas fished by this fishery.

Pot: Lobster Target Species: Spiny and common slipper lobster Other Commercially Landed Species: ridgeback and chinese slipper lobsters, kona crab, octopus Bycatch: filefish, reef shark (grey, whitetip), butterflyfish, goatfish, wrasse, surgeonfish, moray eels. Interactions with Protected Species: Hawaiian monk seal There have been some concerns that this fishery competes with food sources necessary for the survival of the endangered Hawaiian monk seal.

Contact: Charles Karnella

NMFS, Southwest Region, Fisheries Observer Branch, Hawaii Longline Observer Program

South Pacific Islands

Fiji Islands

Samoa

U. S. Fisheries Currently Without Observer Programs

Alaska

Halibut Fishery Bycatch: Commercially valuable rockfish; Protected species interactions: Short-tailed albatross; sperm whale (both on the Endangered Species list)

For more information, contact:

International Pacific Halibut Commission PO Box 95009 Seattle, Washington 98145-2009, USA

Tel:(206)634-1838 Fax: (206)632-2983 E-mail: chris@iphc.washington.edu

Salmon fisheries (this section is under development)

West Coast Outside of Alaska

Groundfish, trawl and longline: Rockfish, Sablefish, ling cod

There is currently no observer program for the West Coast groundfish fishery. Currently seven of the commercially landed species from this fleet are declared overfished and the entire fishery was declared in fisheries disaster status in 1999. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council has imposed a number of restrictions in 1999 and 2000 in efforts to rebuild these stocks. There have been significant efforts over the last decade by conservation groups, and more recently, by fishing interests, to begin a comprehensive observer program but funding still remains the obstacle. In 1999, President Clinton requested $US 2,000,000 specifically for funding an observer program for this fishery but the request did not survive the appropriations process in Congress. To estimate bycatch rates, managers currently use a set of data from the mid-80s, referred to as the “Pikitch Study” (unpublished agency document). However, fleet dynamics have changed dramatically over the last decade, rendering this study out of date. From 1995-98, there was a small observer program in this fishery, the “Enhanced Data Collection Program,” funded jointly by NMFS, industry and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, resulting in calculated bycatch discard rates of up to 45%. However, because it was a voluntary program, placement of observers was not random and the results may not be statistically accurate. Thus it is unclear if the resulting data set represents the bycatch of the fleet as a whole. Still, the Pikitch Study represents the most recent set of data and is still used today to estimate the trawl groundfish bycatch in this fishery.

Information on the “Enhanced Data Collection Program”:

Keith Matteson Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 2040 SE Marine Science Drive Newport, OR 97365 Wk: 541-867-4741 Fax: 541-867-0311 E-mail: keith.matteson@hmsc.orst.edu

Mark Saelens Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 2040 SE Marine Science Drive Newport, OR 97365 Tel: (541) 867-0300, Ext. 251 Fax: (541) 867-0311 E-mail: mark.saelens@hmsc.orst.edu

Purse-seine Squid Fishery; Multi-species Seine Fishery Target species: Squid, sardine, anchovy, Pacific mackerel Bycatch: Unknown Interactions with Protected Species: Possibly marine mammals, seabirds (?).

Pelagic Longline Fishery. Target Species: Billfish (swordfish), tuna Bycatch: ? Interactions with Protected Species: Possibly marine mammals, sea turtles, albatrosses and other seabirds No. of Vessels: ?

Participants are not allowed to longline fish inside 200 miles of California’s waters but can do so in Oregon and Washington. Longline boats can land any fish in West Coast ports. Compliance is unknown but professional observers consider enforcement mechanisms inadequate. Possible solutions include observer coverage requirements if fish are landed in West Coast ports and, when not carrying an observer; requirement of a VMS (Vessel Monitoring System), an electronic location device that transfers vessel positions electronically to the responsible agency. A large area of the Pacific Ocean was recently closed to longliners with Hawaii permits due to high sea turtle bycatch. Since swordfish are migratory, and often caught many days away from port, it is probable that California longline vessels fish in some of these closed areas and deliver their catch to California ports. California vessels move back and forth to Hawaii and often fish the same area as Hawaiian longliners, so similar regulations would have to apply in both ports in order to maintain effectiveness of existing regulations in Hawaii. The staff from the California Driftnet Observer Program does driftnet vessel counts daily and keeps track of longline vessels, as well.

OBSERVER PROGRAMS OUTSIDE NORTH AMERICA:

New Zealand

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, New Zealand

Norway

Herring Fishery in Norway

Scotland

Fisheries Liaison Observer, Scotian Shelf

Source Bibliography for this Web site:

Bloeser, J. 1999. Diminishing Returns: The Status of West Coast Rockfish.

Credle, V.R., D. P. DeMaster, M. M. Merklein, M. B. Hanson, W. A. Karp, and S. M. Fitzgerald and workshop participants. 1994. NMFS Observer Programs: Minutes and Recommendations from a Workshop held in Galveston, Texas, November 10-11, 1993. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-OPR-94-1. July 1994.

McElderry, H., W.A. Karp, J. Twomey, M. Merklein, V. Cornish, and M. Saunders. 1999. Proceedings of the First Biennial Canada/U.S. Observer Program Workshop, Seattle, Washington 10-12 March 1998. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-101. May 1999.

Mitchell, E. 2000. Why Fishermen Should Support a West Coast Groundfish Observer Program. Fishermen’s News, Jan 2000.

Nolan, C.P. (ed.). 1999. Proceedings of the International Conference on Integrated Fisheries Monitoring, Sydney, Australia, 1-5 February 1999. Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Pikitch, E.K., D.L. Erickson, and J.R. Wallace. 1988. An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Trip Limits as a Management Tool. Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center NMFS Processed Report 88-27.

Last modified 7/8/00 and constantly under construction, so check back frequently! Where information was not available for the above, it has been marked with a “?” .