Tuna are one of the most iconic fish species, recognized all over the world for their importance ecologically, economically and culturally. As top predators, tuna—like sharks—are extremely important in structuring and regulating marine ecosystems, which in turn helps make the ocean more resilient to a changing climate and other stressors. Tuna are one of the most popular seafood products consumed around the world, but at present almost half (46%) of global tuna stocks are overfished or are slightly overfished.
Given the importance of the species, and the challenges facing them, setting clear management goals and mechanisms to achieve these goals is necessary to ensure the long term viability of Pacific tuna fisheries. Read More
In previous fishery monitoring posts we explored a variety of obstacles to collecting accurate and timely data from vessels in the Chesapeake Bay, West Coast and New England fisheries. These fisheries don’t just have monitoring challenges in common. They also share a solution: each region is piloting an electronic monitoring (EM) or electronic reporting (ER) system intended to make data collection more comprehensive, flexible and affordable. These are not the only regions exploring how new technologies can be integrated into fishery monitoring plans. In fact, all eight of the U.S. fishery management regions have, or are currently testing EM or ER tools.
In 2013, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded a Fisheries Innovation Grant to Dorothy Lowman to convene a National Electronic Monitoring Workshop. Lowman is a natural resource consultant and Chair of the Pacific Fishery Management Council. EDF cosponsored the workshop, viewing it as a linchpin in bringing fishery leaders together to identify common challenges, and common solutions, to monitoring—one of the most important elements of fisheries management. The workshop facilitated information exchange across regions and helped address outstanding challenges in implementing cost-effective monitoring systems. After more than seven months of planning by a Steering Committee that included fishing industry, managers, monitoring companies and EDF, the National EM Workshop was held January 8th and 9th in Seattle, Washington. More than 150 fishery managers and stakeholders from across the country attended the workshop along with select representatives from Canada, Denmark and Australia. Read More